Murder Charges against St. Paul Man after Custody-Related Shooting

Updated: 04/19/2014 9:39 AM
Created: 04/18/2014 1:13 PM
By: Megan Stewart

A St. Paul man has been charged with murder after he allegedly shot his 20-year-old ex-girlfriend Wednesday night following a custody dispute over their 8-month-old son.

According to police, Timothy Scott Hendricks shot Michelle Ploetz just after 5 p.m. Wednesday while she was in her car in the area of White Bear Avenue and East Ross Avenue on St. Paul's East Side.

Hendricks, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the area on a report of people fighting. On their way, dispatch got a call from the Ploetz's father, who said she had been shot and the suspect had fled down an alleyway with a gun.

Officers found Ploetz in the backseat of a 2004 Toyota Highlander with a gunshot wound to her head. Ploetz' and Hendicks' 8-month-old son was seated in a car seat next to her, the complaint said.

Ploetz was breathing when police arrived and was taken to Regions Hospital, where she was in critical condition Thursday night, police said. Ploetz died Friday. According to the Star Tribune, she was taken off life support.

Her father told investigators the three, along with Hendricks, had gone to a family dinner at the Little Oven. Hendricks and Ploetz had apparently broken up because he was in treatment for chemical dependency and had pointed a gun at a family member, the complaint said.

On the way home, Hendricks was seated in the car on the other side of the infant when he shot Ploetz, the complaint said. Ploetz's father got out of the car and chased Hendricks, who shot at him a couple times, the complaint said.

Hendricks told investigators the shooting followed an argument about the boy's custody. Hendricks said after he pulled the trigger, he blacked out and may have shot at her father.

He was expected to undergo surgery on Friday after breaking his jaw and pelvis when he jumped over a railing, the complaint said.

John and Dianne Ploetz, the parents of Michelle Marie Ploetz, released the following statement:

“We are very sad to announce the death of our precious daughter, Michelle Marie Ploetz. Michelle was full of life and passions, including Korean drumming and dance, her son, and her many friends. Michelle was a very generous person. And in her spirit of generosity, she will be an organ donor, giving hope to others in need. We appreciate the prayers and support from friends and family. We request no calls or visits be made at this time.”

Timothy Scott Hendricks
Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Michelle Ploetz
Photo: Facebook/Michelle Ploetz
Michelle Ploetz
Photo: The Ploetz family

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