CASS LAKE -- A legally blind Cass Lake man is dead after being attacked by teen-age boys in Cass Lake Friday night.
Darrell L. Bisson, 48, was walking his dog in downtown Cass Lake about 11 p.m. when he was attacked, the Cass County Sheriff's Department said.
Two of the four teen-age boys allegedly involved in the attack, both 16, are being detained in a Cass County jail facility pending formal charges. The two other teen-agers are being questioned by law enforcement officials. Cass County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Tom Burch said no motive for the attack has been determined.
"I don't understand that at all," said Burch. "From what I heard he was a nice fellow in the community who liked to walk. It's a senseless act."
Charges against the teen-agers could be filed as early as today, Burch said. The names of the two suspects arrested weren't released.
Bisson's mother, Marion Hinkemeyer, also of Cass Lake, today said her son has been the victim of harassment for a long time. In one instance she said police officers stopped a group of kids from stabbing Bisson and in February a man robbed and beat him up.
"They have been always making fun of him for being blind, calling him 'Albino,' 'Whitey,' 'Four Eyes,' and they beat him up," said Hinkemeyer, noting Bisson was part American Indian but had light skin. "He's had a lot of problem with kids, mean kids.
"They were vicious murderers, that's what it came down to. He was right on Main Street, only a block and-a-half from home. Being blind like he is he can't see where they were going to start swinging from, so he just had to take it. This should have never happened, it's so senseless."
Bisson's sister, RoxAnn Gendron, said Cass Lake community members are outraged at her brother's death and at the amount of violent crimes in Cass Lake, and there are plans to hold a candlelight vigil Wednesday at the spot of Bisson's death in downtown Cass Lake.
"We don't want his death to be in vain, we want him to be remembered," said Gendron. "We want crime to stop in Cass Lake. The youth violence is so out of hand we want it to stop."
A lifelong Cass Lake resident, Bisson was described by his mother as a gentle man who had a talent for fixing bicycles and cars by touch. He was legally blind from birth. Hinkemeyer also said her son loved gardening, planting trees and owned dogs. He walked his dog in downtown Cass Lake every night, Hinkemeyer said.
Gendron said most Cass Lake residents knew her brother as a decent man who wouldn't hurt anybody.
"Those that knew him knew that he was a generous, kind-hearted man ... He wouldn't hurt a flea," said Gendron.
Hinkemeyer said because of the harassment her family has considered moving from Cass Lake, but because they own land in the area it's hard to just "pack up and leave."
Less than three days after Bisson's death, Hinkemeyer today was still at a loss as to why anyone would attack her son, a man she said was so good to everyone else.
"I suppose just because they were bored and wanted some excitement," said Hinkemeyer. "That's the only reason I can think of. I guess (they thought) that'll give them a little excitement. It just doesn't really make sense that they would do this."
An autopsy has been scheduled, the sheriff's department reported. Assisting the sheriff's department were the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Cass Lake Police Department and the Leech Lake Department of Public Safety.
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