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‘I’m grateful that I’m alive still’: St. Paul man speaks

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St. Paul man recounts being stabbed by stranger at front door

Byron Phillips is counting his blessings and says he’s lucky to be alive after a knife attack at his own front door.  

“I’m grateful, you know, that I’m alive still,” the 59-year-old Highland Park resident says.

“I got stabbed three times, twice underneath the left breast, and then once right here,” he adds, pointing to his stomach. “They say one inch over, and I could have been dead, too.”

On July 29, a Saturday, Phillips’ Bowdoin Street home became a crime scene.

“It’s shocking because we have a very quiet neighborhood,” Carla Krier, who lives nearby, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS at the time.  

Court documents say shortly after 9:30 a.m., St. Paul police responded to a call of an assault at Phillips’ address.

The report says arriving officers found Phillips and his adult daughter holding down a man later identified by police as 73-year-old Robin Lambert, of Bloomington.

A search warrant says Lambert knocked on Phillips’ front door, wearing latex gloves — he was described by Phillips’ daughter as having ‘crazy eyes.’

“Just as I stood out of bed, I heard my daughter scream frantically ‘Dad, dad, somebody’s trying to get in,’” he recalls. “This guy stuck his head through, tried to force his way in, he had his head in the house, through the door. The door flew open, and he came, and I thought he punched me.”

Phillips would learn later it was the first of several stab wounds.

He says he was able to force Lambert outside, as the two men struggled with a knife.  

“All’s he did was grunted, and then he went to stab me again, and that’s when I caught the blade with my hand,” Phillips remembers. “I remember taking the knife, you know, out of his hands, and I immediately took it and shoved it in his leg. I wanted to stop him, you know, from doing what he was doing.”

After first responders arrived, Phillips and Lambert were transported to the hospital, but Lambert died.

Phillips says police later told him it was a random attack.

Prosecutors declined to bring charges against Phillips, saying his use of self-defense was justified.

“At that time, I was pretty much fighting for my life,” he says. “I didn’t know that I was bleeding until afterward. I look down and my whole shirt’s red. That’s when I realized I was stabbed. I woke up in recovery, and everything hurt.”

Police say a search found numerous knives at Lambert’s home like the one used in the stabbing.

Court records show he was charged with murder in 1982 and was civilly committed as mentally ill and dangerous.

Phillips says he is now recovering from his wounds, including a puncture in the lining of his left lung and a broken rib.

He says he is grateful for the love and support of his neighbors, who set up a food train and a crowd-funding effort to help pay for his medical and other expenses.  

“I am grateful to be alive. God had something else in store for me,” Phillips says. “I wish that this guy did not die, so we could find out more about why he came to my door. I’m just grateful that my family didn’t get hurt.”

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