Ramsey County Attorney charges suspect in Arden Hills shooting

Kelly Phillips

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman

Hoffman still missing after death of Phillips

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, 44, of Minneapolis has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of intentional second-degree murder in the shooting of 48-year-old Kelly Phillips, outside a Holiday gas station in Arden Hills Monday, Aug. 11.

Investigators located the dark-colored BMW in which the two men arrived, but Hoffman is still at large. 

A nationwide executable warrant has been issued for his arrest, and the Ramsey County Attorney's Office says it plans to ask to set bail at $1 million.

Hoffman and Phillips, a Boston Scientific executive, were reportedly co-owners of Lush Food Bar, a gay club in Northeast Minneapolis, and were together for a time. The two reportedly broke up their personal and business relationships. Court records show that Hoffman was also renting an apartment from Phillips, but was evicted in April.

Phillips and his fiance, Nathon Bailey, were planning to wed Aug. 30.

The criminal complaint has been sealed "to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation" until Hoffman is taken into custody, according to a statement from the attorney's office.

Preliminary accounts from witnesses stated that Hoffman and Phillips arrived at the gas station together the morning of Aug. 11 and appeared to be arguing. Both men reportedly got out of the car, and the passenger shot the driver, Phillips, multiple times, including point-blank in the head as he pleaded for his life. The passenger, believed to be Hoffman, then returned to the car and drove off in the direction of nearby Interstate 35W.

The evening of Aug. 12, Blaine police officers searched the area around the Anoka County-Blaine Airport for Hoffman, though he was not found. 

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said it believes "an unknown person or persons" have been helping Hoffman.

"We are urging anyone who has had contact with Mr. Hoffman, or has harbored or assisted him in any way since the murder of Mr. Phillips, to voluntarily come forward immediately," a statement says. "At this time, investigators are securing and examining information about all those believed to be close to Mr. Hoffman. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office will pursue charges against anyone who has aided or harbored Mr. Hoffman since the murder or has lied to law enforcement about the whereabouts of the defendant during this investigation."

"We want Mr. Hoffman to be safely taken into custody," the statement reads.

Mike Munzenrider contributed to this report.

--Johanna Holub

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