Man charged in killing of Hopkins neighbor with an axe


 Mitchell Edward Hoogenakker was charged with murdering his 67-year-old neighbor, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Hoogenakker, 24, is charged with second-degree murder for killing John Gallagher, Jr. with an axe-like tool.

According to the criminal complaint, officers were dispatched to a home in the 2xx block of Tenth Avenue in Hopkins. Gallagher’s wife had been lying on the couching in their living room when she heard a loud noise at the front door and saw Hoogenakker come in their house. When she ran to call 911, she saw Hoogenakker pull her husband into the living room and onto the floor. Hoogenakker hit Gallagher using both arms before pulling him outside.

A man who is a renter at Gallagher’s house said that he woke up from the sounds of a fight downstairs and then heard it move outside.

Officers who responded found Gallagher deceased, lying in the front yard, near the front door. There were numerous wounds to his back and head. The injuries appear to have been made by an axe-like tool. The front door had been forced open.

The renter told the police he had seen a man walking away from the house. Officers used a canine tracker to locate Hoogenakker’s house a few blocks away, on 3xx Ninth Avenue. Hoogenakker came outside and was arrested. In a subsequent search of his home, officers located the axe-like tool in a closet and found “Hoogenakker” etched on the shaft. Hoogenakker admitted he had been at Gallagher’s house and had hit him with the axe until he stopped breathing.

Gallagher had an active harassment restraining order against Hoogenakker.

Hoogenakker is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday and $1 million bail will be requested.

Criminal complaint (PDF)