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Search fails to locate fugitive suspected of murdering former partner

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
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Police officers head back to the command center at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport as they search for fugitive Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, in Blaine, Minn. All gates to the airport were closed as authorities looked for Hoffman, accused of killing his ex-boyfriend last month.David Joles, AP

Police officers head back to the command center at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport as they search for fugitive Lyle “Ty” Hoffman, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, in Blaine, Minn. All gates to the airport were closed as authorities looked for Hoffman, accused of killing his ex-boyfriend last month.

BLAINE, Minn. — Law officers returned to the Anoka County-Blaine Airport Tuesday, but an intensive daylong search failed to find a man accused of killing his ex-boyfriend last month.

The renewed search was prompted by an officer’s early morning spotting of a man near the airport who may have resembled Lyle “Ty” Hoffman, Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson said.

Kelly Phillips was gunned down on Aug. 11.

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman is wanted in connection with Kelly Phillips' murder.

Lyle “Ty” Hoffman is wanted in connection with Kelly Phillips’ murder.

The tip came after a bank robbery in Blaine on Sunday committed by a man who looked like Hoffman, the Star Tribune reported.

At an early evening news conference, Olson said that officers “had checked all areas that we thought we had to check” after the morning sighting. An officer who spotted the man before daylight alerted other officers who quickly set up a perimeter, but a day of searching within it turned up nothing, Olson said

The search involved multiple agencies and local SWAT officers. A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter hovered overhead, with an officer poised at the open door and scanning below while clutching a rifle.

Late Tuesday morning, the Ramsey County sheriff’s office said searchers were combing a wooded area within the airport grounds. A car linked to the homicide was found earlier this month parked near the airport.

Police continued to caution the public that Hoffman should be considered armed and dangerous.

Hoffman, 44, of Minneapolis, is wanted in the Aug. 11 shooting death of his former romantic and business partner Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station. He has been charged by an arrest warrant in Ramsey County with one count of intentional second-degree murder.

Phillips, an attorney and Boston Scientific vice president, owned Lush nightclub, a gay bar, in Minneapolis. The two opened it together in 2009; Hoffman worked at the bar, while Phillips’ involvement was financial.

Friends and family have said that Hoffman and Phillips’ personal and business lives had grown acrimonious in recent years. Hoffman was fired from Lush and told that he had no legal stake in the bar. Phillips also had evicted Hoffman earlier this year from a Minneapolis residence that he owned across the street from the bar.

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