Authorities Thursday afternoon offered new details about the arrest of Lyle Marvin "Ty" Hoffman, who has been on the run for the last month, wanted in the killing of former boyfriend and business partner Kelly Phillips. Officers took Hoffman into custody earlier in the day near an Arby's restaurant in Shakopee after a citizen tipped off police to his whereabouts.
Hoffman was arrested Thursday, the one-month anniversary of the slaying, at around 10:20 a.m. at the Southbridge Crossing Shopping Center near an Arby's restaurant in Shakopee, Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate told reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Police responded to the area after a concerned citizen reported a "suspicious male" who they believed to be Hoffman, according to a news release. The citizen kept an eye on Hoffman until police arrived and arrested him without incident, Tate said.
When police arrived, Hoffman, who was on foot, was looking at an Arby's drive-through menu, Tate said.
During the arrest, Hoffman "was cooperative the entire time," Tate said, adding that he identified himself to police as Ty Hoffman. Police said he wasn't armed and didn't appear to be with anyone else.
“It was good old-fashioned police work and a concerned citizen,” said Ramsey County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Kirkwood, who was also at the news conference. “We don’t know a whole lot more than we got him.”
Kirkwood told The Star Tribune it wasn't surprising that Hoffman peacefully surrendered to officers. “People get tired of running, and people are relieved to get caught.”
Police said they're searching the area to see if there are any clues as to where he might have been.
Officials say they are also continuing to look into whether Hoffman received any assistance from anyone while he was on the run, KARE 11 reports.
Officials said at an afternoon press conference they are looking for a camouflage-colored .45-caliber Glock semiautomatic they believe Hoffman used in the killing, adding that they suspect the gun is in the Shakopee area.
Police have warned throughout the search for Hoffman that anyone found to be helping him would be prosecuted, MPR News reports. Authorities renewed the warning at the press conference, The Star Tribune notes, saying to potential helpers, “We’re eventually going to find out.”
After questioning in Shakopee, Hoffman was brought to Ramsey County.
A witness to the arrest told KARE 11's Lindsey Seavert that Hoffman, 44, who was wearing a camouflage hat, looked skinny – about 30 pounds lighter, disheveled and homeless.
Hoffman had been on the run since the shooting. He was sighted multiple times in the Twin Cities area, which prompted manhunts, Ramsey County officials say. Most recently, he was seen near Shakopee and Prior Lake on Sept. 2.
Ramsey County officials say Hoffman is known to gamble and enjoys playing blackjack. One of the manhunts focused on an area near the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake.
Prosecutors have charged Hoffman with second-degree murder and had issued a national warrant for his arrest. There has also been a $40,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
Officials told the Pioneer Press the tip that led police to Hoffman's arrest was not connected to the reward.
Family, friends react
Hoffman and Phillips were business partners and life partners for several years, and together they opened the Lush Food Bar in Minneapolis. Phillips was also an executive at Boston Scientific. Police believe Hoffman killed Phillips after a falling out over the business.
Following Hoffman's arrest, Phillip's father told KARE 11, "We just go from extreme sadness to anxiety to anger to this moment of elation."
Phillips' friends released a statement via email Thursday, KARE 11 says:
"On the one month anniversary of the brutal death of our beloved Kelly Phillips, his friends and family are grateful that law enforcement was able to bring the suspect into custody without further tragedy."
Phillips' fiancé, Nathon Bailey spoke at an afternoon news conference, saying Hoffman's capture "won't bring him back to life and that's all I think about," KARE reports.
MPR reports Bailey released a statement expressing gratitude that police were able to take Hoffman into custody without further tragedy.
Phillips' ex-wife and friend wrote in a statement to MPR that she's "sincerely grateful for the diligence of law enforcement and the attention of concerned citizens in today's developments."
Hoffman's sister, Dawn Gominsky, has said she believed her brother had been "pushed over the edge" by Phillips, the Pioneer Press reports. About Hoffman's arrest, she had little comment, saying "I'm just devastated, period. That's it, that's all I have to say."
Rumors of Hoffman's arrest started circulating on Twitter around 11 a.m. Thursday when Geoff Engelhart, an insurance agent, tweeted it.
The Star Tribune says news of the arrest had been relayed to a business and law enforcement group meeting at the Shakopee Police Department. Engelhart was at that meeting.
“The [chief deputy] county attorney was present and got pulled out of the room by a police officer,” Engelhart told the Star Tribune. “He came back in the room, made an announcement to the room and we all applauded.”
About 20 minutes later, Shakopee police confirmed the arrest on Twitter.
Timeline of the case
KSTP has put together a timeline of the Hoffman case:
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