Law enforcement officials said Friday that a suspect has been arrested in the shooting death of a man at a law office above St. Paul’s historic W.A. Frost & Company restaurant.
The shooting resulted in a several-hour lockdown, evacuation and street closure late Thursday afternoon at one of the city’s busiest intersections.
Chisago County officials said they arrested the man late Thursday after he lead authorities on a pursuit through Washington County.
“The driver was confirmed to be the homicide suspect,” according to a news release issued early Friday by the Chisago County Sheriffs Office.
A deputy saw the suspect’s vehicle near Shafer, Minn., and attempted to stop it on Hwy. 95 near 220th Street. The driver didn’t stop and traveled southbound on Hwy. 95 for 11 miles before authorities stopped the vehicle near Stillwater. The Washington County Sheriff, Stillwater Police and the State Patrol joined the pursuit.
The suspect, identified as a 37-year-old man from Woodbury, was taken into custody without incident, the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office said. He was booked into the Ramsey County Jail on suspicion of murder, jail officials said.
St. Paul police Sgt. Mike Ernster called the shooting “an isolated and nonrandom incident” and said Thursday that residents and visitors to the area were not in any danger.
Events unfolded just after 4 p.m. when an employee in one of the businesses above the restaurant called 911 to report that a co-worker had been shot and that the suspect had fled.
Police found the man suffering from several gunshot wounds. Emergency medics could not revive him, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police then evacuated the building, with some workers briefly confined to their workplaces.
The shooting happened in an office on the second floor in the Dacotah Building in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood.
Sources at the scene said the shooting took place in Suite 207, the law office of North Star Criminal Defense. There was no official police confirmation of that, but investigators and a police photographer could be seen through windows working in the suite. Late Thursday, a lead attorney from the firm reached by phone declined to comment on the shooting.
Several small businesses have suites on the second and third floors above W.A. Frost, including defense attorneys, a psychiatrist, and insurance and marketing businesses.
Around 6 p.m., the lockdown eased, with several people leaving the building, but no one was allowed in as the investigators continued working.
As the night wore on, many police vehicles remained at the scene on the corner of usually bustling Selby and Western avenues, which was blocked off until about 7 p.m. The interior of W.A. Frost, normally busy on even a weekday night, was dark. Across the street, Nina’s Coffee Cafe closed early and put up a sign saying it was “due to an unforeseen local incident.”
The victim’s identity was not released. Police said the Ramsey County medical examiner would conduct an autopsy and release his name afterward.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, whose office is across the street from the Dacotah Building, released a short statement following the shooting. “My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim. ... My staff is safe and accounted for, and I thank the St. Paul police for their swift response.”
Police urged anyone who might have information about the shooting to call the Homicide Unit at 651-266-5650.
No suspect description was issued, but the police designation of the shooting as “nonrandom” suggested that they knew for whom they were looking.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648