The baseball community is rallying around the family of Jay Boughton, who was fatally shot on Highway 169 in Plymouth on the way home from a Little League game with his son.
Boughton, an assistant coach with the Armstrong Cooper Youth Baseball Association (ACYBA), and his son, who recently finished ninth grade, were driving home from a baseball game in Coon Rapids when police say there was a "traffic altercation" and a person in another car opened fire.
The shooting happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 169 south of Rockford Road. Shots were fired from a light-colored SUV at Boughton as they both traveled southbound on the highway.
After Boughton was shot, he lost control of the vehicle and traveled off the west side of the highway, through trees and a fence, crashing into an apartment complex parking lot on Lancaster Lane North, police said.
The 56-year-old was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he later died. His son was also injured, according to ACYBA's statement, which was sent to Bring Me The News.
"This was one of the most tragic events I've witnessed in my 20 years of policing," Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden said during a news conference on Wednesday, calling it a "truly senseless act."
The ACYBA community is working on organizing a fundraiser for the Boughton family at Frankie's Pizza and they have also set up a GoFundMe page to support the Boughtons as they navigate the coming weeks, with the page saying: "We hope this fund will help them focus on family and give them the time they need to heal."
In the first 12 hours the page was active, it raised more than $11,000 of its $50,000 goal.
"The love for Jay and the Boughton family in the community has been obvious through these efforts and the many messages I have seen, which are only a fraction of the outpouring from within and outside our community," Dale Bjerke, ACYBA president, said in an email early Thursday.
The GoFundMe describes Jay Boughton as "the kind of guy you wanted to be around. He was an active member of our baseball family and his love for the game and passion to help the players was second to none. Jay, you were loved by so many and will be deeply missed."
Jay Boughton is survived by his two children and wife.
Search continues for shooter
Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the shooter, who they say was in a light-colored SUV, possibly a "Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban, or similar vehicle," that may have damage to the driver's side rear bumper.
Plymouth police released three additional images of the suspected vehicle involved in the shooting on Wednesday with hopes someone will help ID it.
"I'm confident someone has relevant information in this case," Fadden said Wednesday, noting they'd like to speak to people who were driving in the area at the time.
Anyone with information should call Capt. Michael Reed at 763-509-5178.
Note: Some of the details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.