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Family says they tried to get help for troubled St. Paul gunman

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Family members say the St. Paul man charged with killing his girlfriend on Wednesday night had addiction and mental health problems, and when they tried to have him hospitalized for treatment he was turned away.

Timothy Scott Hendricks, 19, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Michelle Ploetz, with whom he has an 8-month-old son. The two were in the backseat of a car, with their son in a car seat between them, when Hendricks pointed a gun at Ploetz's head and pulled the trigger. Ploetz, 20, died Friday morning at Regions Hospital.

Hendricks is also charged with attempted murder for shooting at Ploetz’s father, who had been driving the car.

Jennifer Hendricks, Timothy Hendricks' older sister, said she tried dozens of times to get her brother admitted to a hospital for drug and psychiatric treatment, the Star Tribune reports. On each occasion he was sent home with medication but was never admitted.

"The system failed our families. The system failed my brother,” she told the Star Tribune.

She and her fiance raised Timothy Hendricks and another brother after their father died in 2004, the Pioneer Press reports.

Michelle's father, John Ploetz, told police he had also tried to get Hendricks committed three different times because he was afraid Hendricks would kill their entire family, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the criminal complaint, Michelle Ploetz and her father met Hendricks for dinner at a St. Paul restaurant Wednesday night. Hendricks had been released from jail on April 9 after serving time for assault. The meeting with the Ploetzes allowed him to see his son and to discuss the steps Hendricks needed to take for him to share custody of the child.

The complaint says when they left the restaurant, John Ploetz was driving with the two adults and the baby in the back seat. Ploetz told police he heard a pop, then felt something whiz past his head and a bullet pierced the windshield. Ploetz got out and tried to get control of Hendricks’ gun, but Hendricks shot at him twice more before fleeing.

Hendricks was arrested a short time later. He later told police “I was hearing voices in my head and I just snapped, and I couldn’t tell you really what happened,” according to the criminal complaint.

Hendricks was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to repair a broken pelvis and jaw, which he injured while jumping over a railing while in custody.

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