Hopkins Murder Raises Issue of Restraining Order Effectiveness

August 27, 2017 10:19 PM

The brutal murder of 67-year-old John Gallagher traumatized those who loved him.

It also traumatized those in his Hopkins neighborhood, many of whom noted the increasing frequency of frightening encounters between Gallagher and a former neighbor.


"He kept harassing (Gallagher), walking by the house like a zombie even though he wasn't supposed to," said neighbor Tom Schulz.

A court record dated July 27 banned 24-year-old Mitchell Hoogenakker from being anywhere near Gallagher or his home on the 200 block of 10th Avenue in Hopkins. Gallagher feared for not only his own safety, but that of his family, and he asked for added protection from authorities. He was granted a harassment restraining order.

RELATED: Hopkins Homicide Victim had Restraining Order Against Suspect, an Ex-Neighbor

Minnesotans involved in custody or domestic disputes, or those who feel threatened or that they're being stalked, can apply for the order online. The application includes descriptions of harassing behaviors like repeated incidents of unwanted acts or gestures.

Once approved, an order can remain in effect for up to two years. Anyone violating an order can be arrested. 

Sgt. Mike Glassberg of the Hopkins Police Department says during his two decades on the force, HROs have made a difference.

RELATED: Homicide Investigation Launched after 67-Year-Old Man Found Dead in Hopkins

"This is not the norm, this is a very unusual circumstance," Glassberg said. "It's very unfortunate. In this case it's my belief the victim did everything right."

However, residents like Bill Freiberg question the effectiveness of an HRO.

"In a deal like this where somebody's going to kill somebody, it doesn't do any good," Frieberg said. "We can't have the police following somebody 24 hours a day and tucking him into bed."

Police arrested Hoogenakker at his home, two blocks away on 9th Avenue. They also found an ax at the scene, the tool investigators say he used to chop his way into Gallagher's home. Hoogenakker is being held at the Hennepin County jail on suspicion of murder.

Charges are pending and could be filed Monday.


Beth McDonough

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