The suspect charged with shooting and killing a man in a Minnetonka park and ride earlier this month allegedly used a gun stolen from a police officer to carry out the crime, according to a search warrant.
A Hastings police officer reported that a black Ruger .380 handgun had been taken from his residence in Farmington on March 2, the day before Marcus Hallmark allegedly shot 32-year-old Thomas John Russ in the head as the two were fixing a flat tire in a Metro Transit parking ramp off Interstate 394 at the Hopkins Crossroad interchange.
Investigators arrested Hallmark a few hours after the killing, which occurred around 11:15 p.m. March 3 as two female witnesses watched. Investigators subsequently found the handgun Hallmark fired and the serial number on it matched that of a gun stolen from in Farmington, according to a search warrant filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Hallmark, 25, of Columbia Heights, remains in the Hennepin County jail and has been charged with second-degree intentional murder.
Hallmark gained access to the officer’s Farmington home through a lower-level window. He is accused of taking the gun and ammunition, four police badges and identification cards, three passports, two TVs, jewelry, assorted electronics and cash.
On March 4, a sheriff’s deputy in Isanti County responded to a found property report about a backpack on the side of the road. Police badges and identification cards belonging to the Hastings officer were inside. So was gun lock belonging to a black Ruger .380 handgun and Hallmark’s personal identification.
Hallmark’s sister was Russ’ girlfriend and the three of them, along with another woman, had been hanging out the day of the shooting in a home in Columbia Heights. One of the women lent her Ford Focus to Hallmark, and at some point Hallmark abandoned it at the park-and-ride ramp because it had a flat tire, according to a criminal complaint.
On that Friday night, the four drove to the ramp. The two women sat in the car while Hallmark and Russ fixed the flat tire. Both women reported hearing a loud bang, then looked over and saw Russ on the ground. They then saw Hallmark bend over and fire another shot before running away into the woods, the complaint states.
The Hennepin County medical examiner said Russ died of two gunshot wounds to the head.
Police searched a swampy area near the park and ride and found Hallmark
Authorities took the Focus to the Hennepin County Crime Lab and technicians reported seeing a TV in plain view inside the vehicle.
Hallmark has been convicted four times since 2009 for committing or aiding and abetting burglary. He also was found guilty of property damage, being a public nuisance, drug possession, theft and aiding and abetting assault.
He was shot in the abdomen in August 2011 inside a motel room in Spring Lake Park. A man accused of directing the shooting by an accomplice was convicted. Hallmark also was arrested in August 2010 in connection with a stabbing in Albert Lea, court records show.
Hallmark is due back in court on April 5.