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Suspect in west metro manhunt should never have had a gun, sheriff says

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The suspect who was the focus of an hours-long manhunt that spanned several Twin Cities communities Tuesday was never supposed to have a gun, officials said at a news conference Wednesday.

David Winters, 41, was found dead at a home in Jordan early Wednesday morning following a manhunt that began after a shootout with police in St. Louis Park.

Winters, a self-admitted member of a motorcycle gang, had a lengthy criminal history and was prohibited by federal and state law to possess a firearm, Stanek said.

"We're going to work hard to find out where Winters got this gun," Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek said at the news conference.

“Somehow [criminals] are finding ways to get them," he added.

This was the second time in a week Stanek stood in front of reporters and explained a suspect in a shootout with police was prohibited from possessing a firearm, noting the charges filed Wednesday against a man who officials say lied to get the suspect in the New Hope City Hall shooting a weapon.

Timeline of the manhunt

A 911 call from a St. Louis Park business turned into a dangerous situation that involved law enforcement officials from several communities and a manhunt that spanned two counties, Stanek said Wednesday. (Click here for a detailed timeline of events.)

It began around 9:45 a.m. when St. Louis Park police responded to a report of a suspicious person with a gun sitting in a vehicle parked at a local business. When police approached the vehicle, they saw the suspect, who has since been identified as Winters, with a gun. Shots were fired and Winters fled the scene.

Stanek is unsure why Winters was in the parking lot and didn't say who fired the first shots, but notes the sheriff's office is investigating the incident.

At 11:22 a.m., police got a report that a person who matched Winters' description was seen walking into a Byerly's grocery store in St. Louis Park. Officials placed the store on lockdown for several hours, but Stanek said Wednesday that they have no reason to believe he was ever in the grocery store.

At 11:45 a.m., Edina police got a phone call that an unknown vehicle with bullet holes was in a garage in Edina. Officials determined it was the same vehicle as the one in the shooting, which was registered to Winters.

Around noon, investigators surrounded a home on Syndicate Drive in Jordan. Stanek said Wednesday investigators aren't sure how Winters got from Edina to Jordan, which is about a half-hour drive south on Highway 169. Stanek also wouldn't say how police located Winters in Jordan.

The Tri-County SWAT team did made contact with Winters while he was in the home and urged him to surrender peacefully.

Around 2:30 p.m. Winters' ex-wife was arrested after leaving the Jordan home for aiding and abetting a criminal, but she hasn't been charged.

At about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, officials entered the home and found Winters dead.

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