Police hunt 'dangerous' suspect in hotel shooting, say he evaded capture

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Police are looking for an "armed and dangerous" man wanted in connection with a shooting outside a hotel in Eagan earlier this month, who evaded capture after a chase.

Eagan police have a warrant out for the arrest of 31-year-old Thomas Lee Gerlach, suspected of shooting a 23-year-old man in the leg in the parking lot of the Days Inn on Erin Lane at about 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 14.

According to a press release, Gerlach was located by Pine County Deputies four days later after he was found in possession of a stolen car, but he led them on a chase in which he tried to run a deputy's vehicle off the road.

He managed to escape capture on this occasion, the release says.

The Pioneer Press reports the victim is suspected of being shot by Gerlach after trying to buy marijuana from him in the parking lot. Gerlach then produced a gun and demanded he hand over his money.

Gerlach is described as about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and a tattoo on the left side of his neck that says "Sadie Babi."

He is known to frequent the St. Paul and Pine County areas.

Anyone with information should call Eagan police on 651-675-5700. Anonymous tips can be left at 651-675-5799.

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