Ramsey County Sheriff seeks suspect in Arden Hills gas station shooting


Kelly Phillips

Lyle Marvin Hoffman

Victim Kelly Phillips was local Boston Scientific executive and bar owner

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office has named a suspect in the shooting that killed a man at an Arden Hills Holiday gas station the morning of Aug. 11, according to a police statement.

Police are searching for Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, a 44-year-old Minneapolis man as a suspect in the fatal shooting of Kelly L. Phillips, a 48-year-old executive at Boston Scientific who also lived in Minneapolis.

Witnesses told police the two men were arguing in a dark-colored 2011 BMW at the gas station located at 1920 Highway 96, near Interstate 35W, around 8:30 a.m., just prior to the shooting.

According to police, Phillips, a passenger in the car, exited the vehicle followed by the driver, who then shot Phillips multiple times.

Other media reports state that a witness said the shooter stood over Phillips and shot him in his head as Phillips pleaded for his life.

The driver returned to the car and drove off in the direction of 35W, according to police.

Police released the car's license plate number shortly after the shooting and reportedly located the car later that night around 11:15 p.m.

The evening of Aug. 12, Blaine police officers searched the area around the Anoka County-Blaine Airport for Hoffman, though he was not found. As of Aug. 14, his whereabouts are still unknown.

On Monday, Aug. 11, the Ramsey County Sheriff's office arrested and briefly held Nathon Bailey, Phillip's 37-year-old fiance, on suspicion of involvement with the killing. He was released early in the morning of Aug. 12, pending further investigation.

Bailey and Phillips, according to an online wedding registry, were set to be married Aug. 30 in Minneapolis.

Hoffman and Philips were co-owners of Lush Food Bar, a club in Northeast Minneapolis. A 2009 Lavender magazine article about the club stated it was the "brainchild" of Hoffman and Phillips, and at the time, the two were "life partners," though the two were no longer together in recent years.

Recent reports indicate that after their romantic relationship ended, Hoffman and Philips' business relationship also came to an end, and Phillips fired Hoffman from his management position at Lush.

Hennepin County Housing Court records also indicate Phillips rented a Northeast Minneapolis property to Hoffman, and that Feb. 18 of this year began eviction proceedings against him; according to court records, Hoffman was evicted from the property April 11.

Co-workers remember Phillips

Lush Food Bar explained in a statement posted on its door that it was closed the day after the shooting to remember co-founder Phillips and to express sympathy for his family and fiance.

"Kelly founded Lush Food Bar five years ago and was a driving force in the community. He will be greatly missed and always remembered," the note said.

"Kelly was an active ambassador within the GLBTQ community and worked tirelessly for marriage equality. Kelly was planning a wedding with his partner Nathon in just a few short weeks, partly the fruition of his efforts on behalf of marriage equality."

Boston Scientific, where Philips was a vice president and chief counsel, released a statement Aug. 11 regarding his death.

"We are devastated by yesterday's unexpected death of our dear friend and colleague, Kelly Phillips," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

"Kelly will be remembered not only for his great skills as a lawyer, but also for his kindness, gentleness and ability to make those around him feel better about themselves," the statement continued. "He will be sorely missed by his many friends here at Boston Scientific."

As of Aug. 14, police have no one in custody and no charges have been filed in relation to the shooting.

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824. Follow him on Twitter @mmunzenrider.

 

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