Police are holding a 36-year-old man suspected in the hit-and-run deaths of a married couple out for an evening walk in Eagan.
Officers received a call shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday about an accident near a strip mall off Hwy. 13 and east of Cedar Avenue. When police arrived, they found two people lying in the parking lot. The victims were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where they were both pronounced dead.
The victims, who were married — he was 74, she was 57 — lived nearby and walked the mall daily, said Deputy Chief Roger New. Their names were not released.
New, who said police have been in touch with people close to the victims, described the crime as “senseless” and “random.”
“This was totally a shock to a number of people in our community as well as this family, because they were known to walk this area on a daily basis,” he said.
Using witnesses’ descriptions, police found the suspect’s vehicle at 11 p.m. outside La Fonda De Los Lobos, a restaurant less than a mile down the road.
Several hours later, they found the suspect at the AmericInn in Apple Valley, about 6 miles south of the crime. He was arrested shortly after 5 a.m. Friday and is being held at Dakota County jail awaiting possible charges, which may not be filed until Monday, New said.
Authorities don’t believe the victims and the suspect knew one another, New said. He added that police don’t think the suspect was intoxicated.
The suspect, who authorities believe was living in Minnesota, has been convicted several times in the metro area, including for felony assault and theft of a motor vehicle.
Police said they don’t believe anyone else was involved in the incident. Eagan police and the State Patrol are handling the investigation.