An intense manhunt is underway for an armed suspect in Mendota Heights, Minnesota after he was allegedly involved in the homicide of a woman who was found dead inside a commercial building Saturday afternoon.
Mendota Heights police identified the suspect as 44-year-old Lucifer Vincent Nguyen. Officials released Nguyen’s photo and said he was armed with a handgun, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is said to be 5-foot-5-inches tall and weighs approximately 150 pounds; he was last seen wearing a black T-shirt. Anyone with any kind of information about the suspect is requested to immediately call the sheriff’s office at 651-322-2323.
Police officials said they first received a call regarding a report of an armed robbery on Delaware Avenue around 10 a.m. EDT, which then led to a pursuit of the suspect, who was trying to flee in a white passenger car.
However, the accused crashed the car into a swamp and ran into the White Pine Senior Living Center on Plaza Drive near Dodd Road.
“He entered in there and said something to the employees, but how long that was, exactly what he said…I don’t know,” said Mendota Heights Police Chief Kelly McCarthy.
The center was put under lockdown and evacuated in search for the suspect; a nearby shopping center in the area and the Mendakota Country Club were also put on lockdown and evacuated. The body of the victim of the possible homicide was found in an office building beside the care center later in the afternoon. The deceased woman has not been identified by the police yet.
Chief McCarthy said authorities are contacting everyone who has offices in the building and getting details of “cars that may or may not have been there – and we’ll work backwards from there.”
“The staff at White Pines did a great job,” McCarthy said. “It was very difficult and we’re glad they’re safe.”
Gail Okeson, one of the people present outside the care center, waited to be permitted inside so she could visit her 93-year-old mother.
“She was O.K. She was very frightened and teary, but she was O.K.,” Okeson said, CBS Minnesota reported.
“We have a lot of people out here who were really hoping that we would find that suspect and be able to bring him into custody,” McCarthy said, Fox9 reported. “It’s a tragedy and it’s demoralizing for everybody.”
McCarthy said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and other agencies were also involved in the investigation and are helping in the search for the suspect.
“We’ve brought in the BCA and both Dakota County and BCA will be here, and we will take over the scene from there,” said McCarthy. “However, we’ll work this homicide.”
Later on Saturday, Mendota Heights police on its Facebook page apologized for the delay in releasing a detailed description of the suspect. “We have to ensure that the information we are putting out is correct, and it takes time to validate these things,” the police post read.
“We also have to take into consideration the timing of our information and contamination of witness descriptions,” it added.