Jay Boughton, a youth baseball coach from Minnesota, was killed during an apparent road rage incident Tuesday night after a suspect opened fire on his vehicle. Boughton, who was driving his son back from a team game, sustained a gunshot wound before his car veered off Highway 169 in Plymouth.
The beloved coach lost control of the car, which smashed through a chain-link fence, hit trees, and eventually crashed into parked cars at an apartment parking lot. Jay Boughton’s son, who was injured in the incident, attempted life-saving measures on his dying father until an ambulance arrived. Boughton was killed in the incident, and his son is still recovering from his injuries.
Police have yet to identify the shooter and the motive for the heinous act is still under investigation. Authorities suspect that a traffic altercation was the cause of violence, though what escalated the altercation to that level is still unknown.
Erik Fadden, the Plymouth public safety director, confirmed in a press conference Wednesday that the shooter is still at large. Fadden also urged anyone with information to come forward.
“I just have to say this was one of the most tragic events that I have witnessed in my 20 years of policing,” Fadden admitted, trying to hold back tears. “It was really truly a senseless act that resulted in the loss of a human life. And our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and those affected by this horrible event.”
The 10:00 p.m. shooting is still under investigation, though police have garnered three photos of the suspected vehicle through traffic camera and surveillance footage from Tuesday night. The vehicle is believed to be a light-colored SUV, which police believe is a Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, or Suburban. According to reports, the suspected vehicle has damage to the driver’s side rear bumper, though it wasn’t clear if the vehicle sustained the damage during Tuesday’s altercation.
Jay Boughton was an assistant coach and a beloved member of the community, according to his family and friends. He coached with the under 15U-AAA team for the last three years, working closely with his son and the Armstrong Cooper Youth Baseball Association (or ACYBA). The remaining 15U-AAA games in the season have been canceled.
Dale Bjerk, the president of the ACYBA, confirmed that Jay Boughton had been returning from a youth baseball game when he was shot and killed. His son’s team was facing the Coon Rapids, and “Jay’s son, Harrison, was in the car with him, when another vehicle pulled up beside them and shot Jay as he was driving.”
Bjerk admitted that “the senselessness of this act is beyond understanding.” The ACYBA president claimed Jay Boughton was a “wonderful Coach, Parent, and Husband,” and the organization has been sharing emails all day commemorating Boughton’s legacy.
“Jay’s death is a tragedy, and we all need to take time to reflect on this loss and to mourn the passing of a dear member,” the association wrote in an email to parents.
According to Boughton’s friend, Tim Browne, he was more than a great coach. He was also a “great dad.” Browne said Boughton would do anything for his kids and for his community, which he demonstrated in his actions. “His presence in their lives and constant words of encouragement meant the world to the kids,” Browne said in a statement.
Boughton leaves behind his wife, who was also a member of the ACYBA, and children. “Jay was one of those guys who would do anything for anyone at any time and always with a smile,” Dale Bjerk said. The Minnesota community mourns the loss of Jay Boughton as authorities attempt to track down his killer.