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Community remembers youth baseball coach killed in Hwy 169 shooting

Armstrong Cooper Youth Baseball Association president Dale Bjerke says Jay Boughton and his son were driving home from a game when someone fired at their car.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — The man killed after a shooting on Highway 169 Tuesday has been identified as Jay Boughton, a coach with the Armstrong Cooper Youth Baseball Association, according to that organization.

ACYBA president Dale Bjerke says Boughton had been an assistant coach with the 15UAAA team for the past three years, and his son played in the league.

According to Bjerke, Boughton and his son were driving home Tuesday night from a game in Coon Rapids when the shooting happened. Police say Boughton and another driver were traveling south near County Road 9 in Plymouth, when the shooter fired at Boughton's car before driving away.

Boughton was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where police say he later died. His son was released from the hospital last night, Bjerke says.

John Ripka, a close family friend who coached with Boughton when their kids were younger, said he was an "absolute positive influence on kids as a coach." He described Boughton as a devoted husband and father who made a huge impact as a mentor to so many young players.  

"My heart goes out to his wife Kristin and family, their two kids," Ripka said. "Probably sometime, later tonight, it's going to hit me, that Jay is gone... He will be greatly missed. By a lot of people." 

Paul Larson, who has sometimes coached against Boughton and knew him from little league in Crystal, said Boughton was "the most kind and compassionate guy you'd ever want to meet." A GoFundMe has been set up to support the Boughton family.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Plymouth police said some kind of traffic-related altercation may have taken place prior to the shooting.

The suspect's vehicle is believed to be a light colored SUV, possible a Chevy Tahoe or Suburban. Police say the car might have damage to the driver's side rear bumper.

Credit: Plymouth Police Department

At a news conference on Wednesday, Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden got emotional when talking about the case.

"This was one of the most tragic events that I've witnessed in my 20 years in policing," Fadden said. "It was really, truly a senseless act that resulted in a loss of a human life."

Police are encouraging anyone with information to contact Captain Michael Reed at 763-509-5178.

Bjerke described Boughton as a "nice man" who was well known in the community. He had coached in Crystal before joining the ACYBA, and was also a soccer coach. His wife is currently on the ACYBA board, according to Bjerke.

Tragically, Boughton is the third young father affiliated with the ACYBA to die this season. Bjerke says one parent died from COVID-19 in April, and another passed away from a heart attack last month.

In a letter to families, Bjerke said all remaining 15UAAA games have been canceled for the season, and the team will not play in any future tournaments.