Authorities warn against helping fugitive charged in gas station killing

  • Article by: NICOLE NORFLEET , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2014 - 8:45 AM

As Lyle M. Hoffman was charged in the shooting death of his former lover, investigators warned that anyone harboring him also could be in big trouble.

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Lyle "Ty" Hoffman is shown in a July 2009 photo when he and Kelly Phillips were opening Lush Food Bar in northeast Minneapolis. Hoffman is a suspect in the shooting death of Phillips.

Photo: Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

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Investigators say they believe that someone is helping fugitive Lyle M. Hoffman, who was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his former lover and business partner in an Arden Hills gas station parking lot.

Ramsey County Undersheriff Joe Paget said Friday that investigators believe that an unknown person or persons have been in touch with Hoffman. He added that authorities are looking into information on people thought to be close to him.

Paget warned that it’s a felony to aid a fugitive such as Hoffman, 44, who was charged with one count of intentional second-degree murder in Ramsey County District Court in the death Monday of Kelly Phillips, 48, an attorney and Boston Scientific vice president. He had worked at the medical device giant for 14 years.

The charging documents will remain sealed until Hoffman’s arrest because of the fear of the “substantial risk of severely hampering an ongoing criminal investigation,” according to a court order. If the complaint and other documents were not sealed, the order said, it “could cause the defendant herein to hide or flee.”

Phillips was shot in the back and head after trying to run from the gunman, shortly after their car pulled into the gas station in Arden Hills on Monday morning. Hoffman now is the subject of a nationwide manhunt, and the state will seek $1 million bail.

“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,” Paget said. “Their assistance in the investigation will be taken into consideration.”

Phillips’ funeral will be held Saturday morning in Mason City, Iowa, where he was born and raised.

A reward of up to $1,000 has been offered by Crime Stoppers of Minnesota to anyone with information leading to Hoffman’s capture. Tips can be left at 1-800-222-8477.

 

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

Twitter: @stribnorfleet

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