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Charges: Hopkins man dragged from home, killed by ax-wielding neighbor

The 67-year-old victim had taken a restraining order out against his alleged killer.
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A Hopkins man was dragged from his home and killed with an ax, allegedly by a man against whom he'd taken out a restraining order.

John Gallagher Jr. suffered horrific injuries in the attack on the 200 block of 10th Ave. N. Friday, after he was struck repeatedly with a splitting maul, according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

Allegedly responsible for the attack is neighbor Mitchell Edward Hoogenakker, 24, who is accused of striking Gallagher with the tool multiple times, with one of the blows leaving a hole in his skull.

Charges say Hoogenakker had earlier burst into Gallagher's house, with the 67-year-old's wife saying she heard a noise at the front door before Hoogenakker pulled her husband into the living room, hitting him, and then pulling him outside. 

Gallagher renters were also woken by the commotion, with one telling police he heard the struggle move outside before hearing the sound of a weapon hitting a body, the complaint says. 

Gallagher was found dead in front of his house with "numerous wounds" to his back and head, charges say. 

K-9 police officers were called in and tracked Hoogenakker to his home on the 300 block of 9th Ave. N., where he was arrested, the complaint says. Police also found the maul in one of the closets.

A community shocked

Gallagher had filed a restraining order against Hoogenakker in late July, with KARE 11 reporting Hoogenakker had taunted Gallagher from the sidewalk, yelling things such as "watch your back" and "I've got a slug for you."

He also daubed "pedophile" onto Gallagher's vehicle and would walk by his home in a "zombie-like fashion," KARE 11 says. 

The Star Tribune reports Hoogenakker used to live next door to Gallagher and the pair had a long-running feud, with Hoogenakker moving to a new home a block away about four years ago.

The killing has shocked the neighborhood, with the newspaper noting it's the first homicide in Hopkins since 2009.

Hoogenakker has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

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