SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — Shakopee Police arrested Thursday morning fugitive Lyle “Ty” Hoffman, who is suspected of shooting and killing a man at an Arden Hills gas station last month.
Police received a report of a suspicious man in the Southbridge Crossing Shopping Center in Shakopee at about 10:17 a.m.
The man was Hoffman, and officers arrested him without incident outside of an Arby’s restaurant, where he was staring at the drive-thru menu while on foot. Police say he was unarmed.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate says a tipster kept authorities informed of Hoffman’s whereabouts before officers arrived at the scene.
Witness Ben Christiansen said Hoffman appeared thin, unshaven and out of place.
“It was one of those things where you see somebody and you say,’That has to be him, but he’s skinny,'” Christiansen said. “You know, from all the pictures that the media’s released.”
Christiansen watched as a lone police officer approached Hoffman.
“It looked like a casual, ‘What are you doing here?'” Christiansen said. “She didn’t have her gun drawn … it looked very casual.”
Investigators say that Hoffman is suspected in the shooting death of Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station, which happened one month ago to the day this Thursday.
Hoffman is also suspected of holding up a bank in Blaine on Labor Day weekend, and investigators believe he tried passing off dye-stained bills from the robbery.
Ramsey County Deputy Chief John Kirkwood says Hoffman appeared to be in good physical condition, but speculated that he was tired of running.
“My experience in years of law enforcement is you eventually catch some of these people and it’s almost like … relieved. I’m glad you finally caught me. I’m tired of looking over my shoulder and changing phones and everything else,” Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood also says Hoffman was using public transportation to get around, and Metro Transit was assisting law enforcement with tracking his movements.
“Finally we got lucky on one and good old fashioned police work, but also a concerned citizen,” Kirkwood said. “We said all along that’s what we’re hoped for.”
Phillips was an executive at Boston Scientific, and was also Hoffman’s former boyfriend and business partner.
Phillips’ father, Jim Phillips, said Thursday that he can rest a little easier knowing that Hoffman is in custody.
“It was happiness. It was ‘Yes, they got him, they got him, they got him,'” Jim Phillips said. “I was actually picking up a prescription and cried on the way home.”
Since Kelly Phillips’ death, Hoffman was spotted multiple times in the Twin Cities area, including at Mystic Lake Casino and a hotel in the Shakopee area.
Earlier this week, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office announced the reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of Hoffman had increased to $40,000.
Hoffman was formally charged Thursday with second-degree intentional murder, and the state will ask for his bail to be set at $1 million.
He is being held in the Ramsey County Detention Center, where police have been interrogating him to try and find out if anyone had helped him while he was a fugitive.
If so, there will likely be others charged in connection with his month-long run from the law.
Kirkwood also wants the public to be on the lookout for the weapon used in the fatal shooting — a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun, with a painted camouflage finish.