ST PAUL, Minn. — The death of a woman in St. Paul, who police say was gunned down randomly in her car, has a community reeling.
Yuliya (Julia) Li was a businesswoman who was working for H.B. Fuller, a global company, that started in St. Paul 130 years ago.
St. Paul Police say she was shot and killed in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on Feb. 16 — the city's seventh homicide this year.
That's not, though, how her closest colleagues will remember her.
"Her energy was dynamic and if you got a chance to meet her, you'd just love her," said H.B. Fuller CEO Jim Owens. "That's the person that was taken from this world and it's really a sad loss for all of us."
H.B. Fuller is an adhesives manufacturer with offices around the world and thousands of employees. Li was a global business director who was responsible for marketing and sales.
"The outpouring among the H.B. Fuller family has been from all corners of the world because she really touched a lot of people," said Owens.
The 34-year-old was from central Asia and studied in the states, graduating from the University of Minnesota. Li was also working on earning a Master's degree at the University of St. Thomas.
"She wanted to be back here in a community that she loved and that's not the same community it was when she got here in 2007," said Owens.
According to police, the suspect in her death was arrested in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon and is currently in custody at the Hennepin County Jail.
Police say he's 15 years old and may stand trial as an adult, and that he also has a criminal history. A police spokesperson said nothing indicates Li knew the suspect or ever interacted with the suspect.
In a social media post Tuesday evening, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said, "Tonight, I spoke with Julia’s husband. I told him that I’m incredibly sorry for his loss. I told him that the person responsible for his wife’s death was in custody. And I told him that my heart breaks for his entire family."
"People are shocked," said Owens. "But also still gets you angry; gets you angry that someone would do this to Julia."
Police said the suspect will be transferred from the Hennepin County jail to Ramsey County next week, and if charges are filed then, more information will become available in public documents.
In the meantime, Owens says he's activity working with city leaders and starting a fund to help curb gun violence in Julia's honor.
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