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Authorities: Plymouth shootings involved domestic violence

PLYMOUTH — A woman who was shot to death at a busy intersection in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth appeared to be a victim of domestic violence, and the man suspected of killing her died soon afterward in an exchange of gunfire with police, authorities said Saturday.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein described at a news conference what unfolded Friday night involving the woman and the suspect, who lived together. The man had a violent criminal history, they said.

Goldstein said police got a call just before 9:15 p.m. of a person who had been shot and possibly run over at the intersection on Rockford Road. The woman died at the scene. It wasn't clear if she had fled the vehicle or was pushed from it.

Plymouth resident Bill Schletzer told the Star Tribune he was stopped at the intersection when he saw a large SUV pull up beside him in the left-turn lane, then turn wildly in front of all the stopped cars before ending up on the right-hand shoulder. He said he then heard more than a dozen gunshots as the suspect chased the woman around the intersection in his vehicle. He said the suspect kept shooting as he ran the woman down.

"She just folded up like a rag doll," Schletzer said. "This was the most violent and intense thing I've ever seen."


Authorities said about four minutes later, police got a call about a man with a long gun in the garage at a Plymouth apartment building.

Leah Grimes, who lives at the apartment building, told the newspaper the man drove recklessly into the garage as she was parking her car. She said the driver-side window was smashed and he appeared "nonsensical," injured or intoxicated. She said two parents who were unloading groceries grabbed their baby just before he smashed into their car.

"He wasn't stopping, just slamming into (the family's sedan) completely irrationally and erratically," Grimes said. The suspect got out wielding a gun, and the father tried to negotiate with him, she said, pleading for the safety of his baby. They all managed to flee.

Stanek said the exchange of gunfire happened about 9:30 p.m. Officers found the suspect dead a short while later, and authorities still were trying Saturday to determine if the suspect killed himself or was killed by police.

The Hennepin County medical examiner's office will release the names of the victim and suspect after autopsies are completed.

Investigators were working to determine details about the relationship between the victim and gunman and what happened before she was shot. Stanek said the suspect's felony conviction meant he could not legally possess firearms, and that detectives would try to determine how he obtained them.

The suspect lived at the apartment building and officers recovered a number of weapons from him and his apartment, the sheriff said. The gunman was wearing a tactical vest that held multiple ammunition magazines, he said.

Three officers who exchanged fire with the suspect were put on paid administrative leave while the sheriff's office leads the investigation. Goldstein said two of them were taken to a hospital as a precaution, and one was treated for superficial wounds. All were released.

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