Armed man killed outside slain Orono physician's home identified

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2013 - 11:31 PM

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office was tight-lipped about the connection between an Orono doctor and a man with a gun.

 

They both died at the end of an Orono cul-de-sac of multiple gunshot wounds, one a prominent OB-GYN physician and the other a 2009 law-school graduate.

But what was the connection?

On Sunday night, authorities still wouldn’t say, even after the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office identified Ted C. Hoffstrom, 30, a University of St. Thomas law school graduate from St. Anthony, as the armed man who was killed by police Friday night outside the home of Dr. Stephen Larson, 74.

Hoffstrom, suspected of fatally shooting Larson, had a virtually spotless record, and a friendly demeanor, too, friends say.

But authorities on Sunday again declined to provide any further details about Hoffstrom or how the two men may have known one another.

Of the possible links between them, Jennifer Johnson, a sheriff’s spokeswoman, said simply: “We can’t comment. It’s still an active investigation.”

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to hold a news conference on the case on Monday afternoon.

At Hoffstrom’s home, family members posted a written statement on the front door expressing sympathy for the Larson family, and added that “many questions remain unanswered.”

Larson’s family could not be reached for comment.

Outside the Orono residence Sunday, a neighbor said: “Nobody’s home. Nobody’s talking.”

Just before 9 p.m. Friday, police officers responding to a call about trouble at Larson’s house on Heritage Lane in Orono arrived to find Hoffstrom in the front yard armed with a handgun.

Shots were fired, and Hoffstrom died at the scene.

Officers then went into the house and found Larson’s body.

Larson, who founded a medical group in Edina and Burnsville, was a well-known expert on pelvic surgery and a former adjunct professor in the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

His family had said on Saturday that they were mystified by the shooting.

Two bouquets of flowers were left outside the home on Sunday.

On Hilldale Avenue NE. in St. Anthony, a woman loading a vehicle outside the Hoffstrom home said that no one in the family would have a comment.

Ramon Sola, a neighbor who lives two doors away, recalled seeing Ted Hoffstrom walking the family’s two dogs.

“We would comment about the weather — and that’s about it,” Sola said.

Although authorities declined to give any new information in the case on Sunday, a search of social media found that a Ted C. Hoffstrom graduated from the University of St. Thomas law school in 2009.

An online resume listed brief stints as an intern for state Sen. Chuck Wiger in 2006 and for two Hennepin County District Court judges in 2008.

A University of St. Thomas law school classmate, Katharine Tinucci, now press secretary for Gov. Mark Dayton, expressed shock at the news that Hoffstrom was killed.

She said she could not imagine that he would be in any kind of trouble.

She had seen him recently, she said, working the phone banks for the DFL Party and chatted with him.

He told her that he was looking for work.

“He was just the nicest guy,” she said.

Dana Nelson, who works at the law firm Nichols Kaster & Anderson, said that he knew Hoffstrom when he was an intern there a few years ago.

He described him as personable “and always in a good mood.”

The note posted by his family on their front door said in part: “Our hearts are broken for all of those affected by this tragic event. We are shocked and saddened by this news.”

So, too, was Sola, the neighbor, who chased down reporters to verify that Hoffstrom truly was dead.

“Sorry,” he added. “I’m trying to put the pieces together.”

 

Staff writer Josephine Marcotty contributed to this report.

Anthony Lonetree • 651-925-5036

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