The Maplewood father who was shot and killed inside his home Saturday morning in an apparent home invasion recently won custody of his two young daughters, neighbors said Sunday afternoon.
Justin N. Wright, 31, was found dead inside his home just before 5 a.m. in the 2200 block of Hazel Street when police arrived on reports of the shooting.
Maplewood police said a woman was in the home when the shooting occurred, but was not injured and is being interviewed by investigators.
Neighbors described the Wright family as "good people."
The quiet neighborhood has rarely seen any police presence, neighbor Carl Quist said.
Quist said police were called to the Wright house once before.
Wright, who owned a painting business, had been renting the home on the corner for a few years, Quist said.
"It's a shame," Quist said. "He was kind of quiet. His girls were always playing when I came home from work, in the yard or with the other kids … They were a nice family."
Quist said Wright had recently won custody of the two girls after months of fighting for custody.
Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said that while questions remained regarding a motive, investigators do not think the shooting was random.
"It is now believed that the suspect[s] targeted this particular residence," Schnell wrote on the city's Nextdoor account.
According to a traffic scanner recording posted on the MN Police Clips Facebook page, the woman called police and said an unknown man came into the house and shot Wright. She said she heard him yell and then heard a gunshot, but did not see the suspect before he fled.
Police said that they searched the neighborhood with dogs but did not find a suspect and that no one has yet been arrested. They said the backdoor has signs of forced entry.
Police ask anyone with information to call the Maplewood Police Department at 651-767-0640 or send an anonymous text message by typing the keyword "Maplewood" followed by any information to TIP 411 (847411).
Staff writer Stephen Montemayor contributed to this report.