The man who was shot and killed during an apparent home invasion Saturday morning has been identified as Justin Niles Wright, 31, of Maplewood, according to a news release Sunday from Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell.
The shooting was reported Saturday at about 4:45 a.m. at a residence in the 2200 block of Hazel Street.
When officers and medics arrived, they found Wright, who lived in the house, with a gunshot wound to the upper portion of his body. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Schnell.
A man is said to have forced his way into the home and got into an altercation with Wright before shooting him.
A woman who was also in the home at the time of the shooting was uninjured, and has been interviewed by investigators. Her identity is being withheld for safety reasons, according to Schnell.
According to the Pioneer Press, the woman heard male voices exchange words in the house, followed by a man’s yell and a gunshot. She was in another part of the house at the time and didn't see the shooter. Wright was found in the hallway leading to the bedroom.
Officers believe the suspect pried open the back door to get into the house, and they add the shooting does not appear to be random.
“There was some reason they came to this home,” Schnell told the newspaper.
Officers conducted a search in the area but did not find the suspect. They did find a gun, which had been discarded on a driveway a short distance from the shooting scene, KSTP reports.
Schnell said the gun is being tested to see if it was the weapon used to kill Wright.
“This has been a very active investigation,” said Schnell. “Investigators have established a lengthy list of people they plan to interview who could hold critical information to help in identifying the suspect."
Maplewood police are being assisted in the investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Maplewood Police Department at 651-767-0640.