Brooklyn Park police said Monday that they believe a man intentionally struck his neighbor with his car, killing him and fleeing the scene.
Family members of the victim identified him on social media as Paul Pfeifer.
Police were called to the scene of the hit-and-run in the 9500 block of Scott Lane in Brooklyn Park about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Police apprehended the driver after they tracked the car to a nearby house later that night, according to Mark Bruley, deputy chief. The department is pursuing homicide charges, which could come as soon as Tuesday.
"We believe at this point, this was an intentional act," Bruley said.
In a statement, Pfeifer's husband, Joseph Pfeifer St. James, said "hate is what killed him." He declined to be interviewed by the Star Tribune.
In an Instagram post, Pfeifer's nephew-in-law said his uncle was the "victim of hate" when he was intentionally run over.
"Today our family is grieving, deeply. Amidst this grief we are pleading for this level of hate to end," wrote AJ Mansour, the director of digital media for iHeartMedia.
Bruley said there were "a lot of overtones that this was a hate crime based on the victim's sexuality."
"At this point, we have no evidence that leads us to believe that is true," he said.
"That does not mean it's not true. It's just that we have not had any validated evidence to encourage us to submit this as a hate crime."
He added that the charge of hate crime could be added if something changed.
Before moving to the Twin Cities, Pfeifer worked in banking and acted in theatrical productions with Merely Players Community Theatre in Mankato, according to the Mankato Free Press.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759