Police Search for Ex-Boyfriend in Brutal Execution-Style Murder of Gay Minneapolis Man: VIDEO

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A gay Minnesota activist and executive’s life ended abruptly on Tuesday when he was shot to death at a gas station in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Police are searching for Lyle “Ty” Hoffman (below), an ex-boyfriend and former business associate of Kelly Phillips (above), a VP and general counsel at medical device company Boston Scientific and the co-founder of Lush Food Bar in Minneapolis, who died of multiple gunshot wounds at the scene of the shooting.

HoffmanThe Star Tribune reports on the brutal killing:

Police said both men were in the BMW in a Holiday station parking lot on County Road 96 near Interstate 35W.

Josh Polos, who was filling his tank with gas at the Holiday station when the BMW pulled up behind him Monday morning, witnessed the killing.

Polos said he heard yelling in the car and assumed it was directed at him.

But when he got out, the car passed his SUV and pulled into a parking spot next to the station. As Polos watched, two men got out of the car and the driver shot the other man three times — including in the back as the victim started running, and finally in the head from close range as the wounded man pleaded for his life.

The shooter turned to Polos and looked him full in the face. He then got back into the car, sat there for several seconds and sped away — running over Phillips as he left.

Hoffman and Phillips had been romantically involved and had opened Lush together, the paper adds:

While the personal relationship soured several years ago, the business relationship between the two continued until several months ago.

“Ty worked at the bar but had no ownership in it,” said Fabian Hoffner, a local attorney who has known Phillips for about 20 years. Hoffner would not say what led to the business breakup.

Earlier this year, Phillips evicted Hoffman from a northeast Minneapolis residence that he owned near Lush. The eviction came about the time that their business relationship was dissolving.

Hoffman is still at large, KSTP reports:

The driver took off and was last seen heading west on Highway 96 in a dark grey, four-door BMW 535i with license place 004-EYY. Authorities found the car around 11:30 p.m. Monday in Blaine but still haven’t found the suspect.

Meanwhile, condolences and grief are pouring in on Phillips’ Facebook page, some of them noting his work in the community, City Pages reports:

“You had a passion to make Minnesota better,” Jacob Reitan writes. “I remember so many events at your house where you advocated for causes and people you believed in. Minnesota is a stronger state because you lived in it.”

That sentiment was echoed by Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey, who writes that Phillips was “always the voice of reason in the room.”

“You were a good friend, and I know so many of us will deeply miss you,” Frey adds.

Our thoughts go out to Phillips’ family and friends.

Watch a WCCO report on the shooting, AFTER THE JUMP


  1. Halfback says

    Kelly was such a caring and nice guy, he was one of those persons that would always make you feel welcome. May you rest in peace.

  2. Mitch says

    Sad. Seldom spoken about in the LGBT community is the existence of domestic violence. It doesn’t discriminate on color, gender, or sexual orientation. Perhaps this will begin a conversation to bring it out of the closet.

  3. UFFDA says

    This is staggering. The intensity of feelings, the blinding rage, the uncontrollable violence, the pathos of a man begging for his life, the absolute intention to kill. I would like to know/understand the full range of causes for this disaster. How does one get this angry?
    So sorry for it all.

  4. Sergio says

    I wonder what the trigger was for Hoffman. I imagine a lot more information will surface in the coming days.

  5. AJ says

    I drive past that gas station every day and I go there at least once per week. It’s just stunning and sad. This really hit home because it’s right in my neighborhood. And it was so cold, the way it happened. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Sounds like we lost a really great guy.

  6. gr8guyca says

    @ Sergio

    From newspaper story: “His father, Jim Phillips, of Mason City, Iowa, said his son was to be married in a few weeks.”

    Perhaps that triggered the fight.

  7. Derrick From Philly says

    As sick and twisted as he is, Little Kiwi would never do something like this. Because he won’t ever have a relationship in the first place.

  8. peterparker says

    How on earth did the handsome guy holding the puppy in the top pic *ever* find himself romantically entwined with the guy with the bloated, misshapen face in the pic below?! The mind boggles.

  9. Tyler says

    Rick is posting as Derrick again. It’s so sad how transparent our resident troll is. The real Derrick has a lot more class.

  10. Raul8 says

    Looks can be deceiving. Let’s not jump to conclusions just because one is “cute” and the other looks like an old drag queen who ended up sleeping behind the 7-Eleven.

  11. UFFDA says

    No TYLER that’s not RICK, HE’S got too much class. Whomever it is he’s got the subject right in KIWI. And no it’s not DERRICK from philly either.

  12. Randy says

    Needless to say, this impulsive crime would not have resulted in death if there hadn’t been a gun around.

  13. Halfback says

    Oh my heart aches when I read these “jokes”, “sassy comments” or “speculations” about Kelly, these people obviouosly didn’t know anything about him. He was a real caring man and It angers me that his character can be put to question by people who knew NOTHING about them. Why do we do this as human beings is beyond me, our community lost someone who worked to make a difference please be tasteful and remember that a lot of people loved him and we are morning his lost…all I’m praying is that Ty gives himself up and don’t hurt anyone else….