$25,000 reward offered for suspect in Arden Hills gas station shooting


Lyle "Ty" Hoffman (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

This photo of Hoffman was taken Aug. 5, just days before the alleged shooting. (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, the alleged shooter in an incident that left one dead at an Arden Hills gas station Aug. 11, is still at large and a $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Hoffman, 44, allegedly shot and killed Kelly L. Phillips, 48, after the two arrived in the same car at the Holiday gas station on Highway 96 near Interstate 35W. The two were reportedly arguing and exited the car, at which point a witness said Hoffman allegedly shot Phillips three times including at least once in the head, got back into the car and fled.

Phillips was a vice president and general counsel at Boston Scientific as well as an owner of Lush Food Bar, a nightclub in Northeast Minneapolis. Phillips and Hoffman had previously been co-owners of the club and had been romantically involved, though both relationships had ended in the past couple of years.

According to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, the gun used in the shooting has not been recovered, and Hoffman should be considered armed and dangerous. Hoffman has been charged with second degree murder and a nationwide executable warrant has been issued for his arrest.

In an Aug. 15 release, the sheriff's office said it suspected unknown people had aided Hoffman in eluding arrest, and reminded anyone who might have helped him that it is a felony to do so.

"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," the statement said.

Updated wanted posters released by the sheriff's office Aug. 21 read, "Hoffman is known to associate within the gay community and investigators believe that he may use Grindr, Craig's List, Scruff, or other applications to find shelter." The poster describes Hoffman as 6-foot 2-inches and 230 lbs with short brown hair. A still photo taken from a surveillance video Aug. 5, just days before the alleged shooting, shows Hoffman with a moustache and beard and wearing a baseball hat.

The office also added that Hoffman went to school in the Elgin-Plainview-Millville area in southeastern Minnesota, so he may be familiar with Wabasha and Olmsed counties. 

Updates to the posters released Aug. 26 noted that Hoffman has traveled the United States, Canada and Mexico extensively and had mentioned visiting Belize. The office also said he is an avid blackjack player and gambler, with knowledge of Las Vegas and its casinos.

The posters promoted the use of the social media hashtag #FindTyHoffman, which, according to Sgt. John Eastham, is a part of the sheriff's office effort to improve service through technology. He said the office would use more hashtags in the future.

The sheriff's office says anyone who encounters Hoffman should not approach him, and should call 911; call Minnesota Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8744 to report a tip.

--Mike Munzenrider

 
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