Updated at 10:06 p.m.
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office is searching for a 44-year-old man in connection with the shooting death Monday of attorney Kelly Phillips, who lay wounded on the ground "begging for his life" before his assailant shot him in the head, a witness said.
Phillips, an attorney for the medical device maker Boston Scientific and co-owner of Lush Food Bar in northeast Minneapolis, was declared dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
The shooting at a Holiday gas station in Arden Hills occurred about 8:40 a.m. Monday after a heated argument between the two men, said Joshua Polos, who was at a set of gas pumps when he noticed two men yelling in a black BMW behind him.
"They backed up and pulled up to a parking space and I could still hear them yelling at each other," Polos said. "The gentleman in the back seat got out, and then the guy in the driver's seat got out with a pistol and immediately shot the man from the back seat once.
"The guy turned to run away and he shot him again in the back," Polos said. "And that brought him to the ground and as he was laying there on the ground begging for his life, yelling 'Please no, please no, don't,' the guy just stood over the top of him and shot him right in the head."
Phillips' death came as a blow to an attorney who represented him in March, when Phillips took the man who shot him to court to evict him from a property he owns in Hennepin County.
"Kelly is one of the finest people I've ever met," attorney Matt Forsgren said. "He had an elegance and compassion about him that was striking, not just to me but to all those who encountered him. When I learned of his death I was beyond devastated."
Phillips "was a driving force in the community," according to a statement Lush posted on Facebook.
Boston Scientific officials said Phillips will be remembered for his expertise and compassion.
"Kelly will be remembered not only for his great skills as a lawyer, but also for his kindness, gentleness and ability to make those around him feel better about themselves," company officials said Tuesday in a statement.
Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey said he often saw Phillips at local meetings.
"He made great efforts to ensure we had full marriage equality for everyone during the 2012 campaign," Frey said. "And he was incessantly involved in the community, whether it was attending a neighborhood association meeting or setting up a task force to protect the trees from Emerald Ash Borer. He was just a good, good guy."
Police think Phillips, 48, was shot outside the car in the Holiday station parking lot and the suspect, considered armed and dangerous, got back in the car and drove away.
Investigators believe Phillips and the man who shot him arrived in the same car together and that the other man drove off in the car after the shooting. The car was found in Blaine overnight.