Criminal Justice

BigLaw partner is killed; authorities suspect shooter was boyfriend, who also died


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Nancy Sullivan. Image from
Barnes & Thornburg.

A partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Minneapolis was shot and killed on Tuesday as she was moving out of the home she shared with a live-in boyfriend, the suspected shooter. He also died.

The dead are Nancy Sullivan, 57, and Johnny Simpson, 65, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Injured in the shooting were Sullivan’s daughter, Kathleen Fay, 29, and Tony Brown, 28, who have a child together, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Fay was in critical condition and Brown was reportedly shot in the leg, reports My Fox Twin Cities.

Sullivan had expertise in ERISA and employee benefits, and served as pro bono coordinator for Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office, according to her law firm profile. She was also active in several community organizations. Barnes & Thornburg released a statement expressing sadness over Sullivan’s death. “She was an exceptional lawyer and a wonderful person,” the statement said.

Simpson’s ex-wife had alleged in their 2002 divorce that he responds “in an angry and abusive manner” when under stress or confronted with new facts, according to the Pioneer Press. She had claimed two instances of physical abuse. Simpson was a chef and a professional boxer, says My Fox Twin Cities.

Authorities are not calling the deaths of Sullivan and Simpson a murder-suicide because they want to determine whether Simpson took his own life or whether he was shot in a struggle over the gun, according to My Fox Twin Cities.

Movers ran from the couple’s home at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday shouting, “He’s shooting everybody! Call 911,” according to the Pioneer Press. A neighbor with a military background called 911 and found the bodies inside the home, according to another neighbor who spoke with the newspaper, Larry Kramlinger.

Updated at 10:05 a.m. to correct spelling of law firm name.

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