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Continued: Charges: Man shoots, kills his son's mother in St. Paul as she sat next to boy

Michelle Ploetz and her father told Hendricks that he needed to get into a treatment program. They also discussed meeting next week so that Hendricks again could visit his son.

After the dinner, John Ploetz was driving the group home. He told police that he heard a “pop,” stopped the car, then heard another “pop” as something whizzed past his head and broke the windshield.

He got out and tried to get control of Hendricks’ gun, but Hendricks shot at him twice more before fleeing.

Police later went to an East Side apartment complex to look for Hendricks and spoke to a woman who said he had spent the past few nights on her couch. Officers found a gun bag with ammunition on the couch. The woman told police that Hendricks had told her Tuesday that he was going to kill Michelle Ploetz, but he had threatened to hurt her before and the woman didn’t take him seriously, the complaint said. He also threatened to hurt himself, she said.

Investigators later learned that Hendricks was on his way to Regions, where he was arrested.

Hearing voices

Hendricks told police that he was hearing voices about the time of the shooting. He said that during the dinner, he was told that “they” wanted full custody of his son and that on the ride home, Michelle Ploetz yelled at him and said he would never see the boy.

“I just snapped,” Hendricks said. “I was hearing voices in my head and I just snapped and I couldn’t tell you really what happened.”

John Ploetz told investigators that he tried three times to get Hendricks, who lived in the basement of the Ploetz family’s St. Paul home, committed because he feared Hendricks might kill him or his family.

“I feel the system really failed Michelle and her family,” Jennifer Hendricks said. “I feel the system really failed my brother. And when somebody tells you they hear voices, when somebody tells you that they’re sick, when somebody tells you that they’re scared, then you should take them and you should help them.”

In a statement Friday, Ploetz’s family thanked friends and family for their prayers and support and spoke of her passions, which included Korean drumming and dance, and her infant son.

Hendricks, meanwhile, was scheduled to undergo surgery. He broke his pelvis and jaw jumping over a railing while in custody. He was on suicide watch at the time.

nicole.norfleet@startribune.com • 612-673-4495

libor.jany@startribune.com • 651-925-5033

 

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