Suspect Visited Police Minutes Before Assault
Michael Lindgren stopped by Bethlehem Police headquarters moments before he allegedly beat and bloodied his parents in their Historic District home.
At five minutes after midnight Tuesday, Michael Lindgren walked into Bethlehem Police headquarters at City Hall and asked for help, but he became agitated and left before help was delivered.
Less than 20 minutes later, according to court papers, officers responding to a home alarm just a few blocks away saw Lindgren walk out of 209 E. Wall St., his hands and shoes covered in blood.
An officer who detained him heard Lindgren spontaneously mutter: “I had to kill them.”
Inside the front door, police found Shirley Lindgren – Michael’s mother – lying unconscious in a pool of her own blood. Michael’s father, John Ralph “J.R.” Lindgren, was found sitting in an adjoining room. He had also suffered a severe beating to the head, face and neck, according to court papers.
Michael Lindgren, 51, of 516 Hayes St., Bethlehem, was charged with two counts of attempted homicide and other crimes. He is in Northampton County Prison under $500,000 bail.
As of Tuesday night, J.R. Lindgren, 78, a retired Lehigh University professor, and his wife, Shirley, 77, a former member of the Bethlehem Area School Board, were in critical condition in the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill.
It was unclear if they would survive, hospital personnel told police. Both had suffered severe enough head trauma to cause their brains to bleed, according to an affidavit attached to a search warrant for their Central Historic District home.
Conscious at the hospital, J.R. Lindgren was able to identify himself and his wife to the police and tell them that his son Michael had attacked them.
At police headquarters, Lindgren admitted that he had hit his parents. He also said of them: “These people have been ripping me off all my life” and “They took everything from me.”
“Everything is turned off at my place,” Lindgren also said. The suspect’s address is the rear of a subdivided house at the corner of Hayes and Laufer streets in South Bethlehem.
The Morning Call reported that someone had sought a mental health commitment against Lindgren in Northampton County Court in July 2011, though the details of that request and its outcome were not clear.
Police cordoned off a whole block of historic, tree-lined E. Wall Street as officers searched for evidence inside the home. The department’s Forensics Services Unit van was parked outside.
Shaken up neighbors told The Express-Times that the victims have been active in the community. J.R. Lindgren was recently named president of the newly forming Bethlehem Human Relations Commission. Shirley Lindgren was an election poll worker and helped to establish the Bethlehem Special Olympics.
Both were also active in the Bethlehem Garden Club and the Bethlehem Historic District Association, the newspaper reported.