Search continues for suspects in Bellevue murder

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The search continues Tuesday for the two men who shot and killed a man who was following suspects who are believed to have been into cars outside his Bellevue home.

Erik Helffenstein was found dead in a field about 50 yards from Highway 100 around 2 a.m. Monday, according to Metro police. 

Metro police said Helffenstein, 45, was shot to death in his vehicle while chasing after persons who were breaking into cars outside his Meadow Ridge Circle home.

MORE: Man killed after chasing vehicle burglary suspects in Bellevue

Metro police say around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Helffenstein’s wife saw two men in hooded sweatshirts breaking into their cars. 

Helffenstein went to confront the suspects and chased after them in his Nissan Pathfinder, according to police. 

“Mr. Helffenstein got very close to their vehicle at which point they opened fire on his,” said Metro police spokesman, Don Aaron. 

“One of the bullets that went into Mr. Helffenstein’s vehicle actually hit him and killed him.” 

Police said Helffenstein lost control of his vehicle, veered off the highway and crashed into a field. 

The suspects were reportedly in a dark SUV. 

“I’m just devastated, whatever we can do for them, we want to be here for them,” said neighbor David Hout. “But I just can’t imagine, it’s hard to explain it to my daughter this morning.  She heard us talking and it’s just awful.  A really good guy, great sense of humor, awesome individual, good friend” 

Residents who live in the Traceside subdivision where Helffenstein lived said their community has been rocked by the violent death of their neighbor.

“Just shocked,” said neighbor Matt Cooley. “It’s just a horrible, horrible accident.” 

News 2 has confirmed that Erik Helffenstein was a Nissan employee.  The company released this statement Monday morning:

We are saddened to learn of Erik’s passing. Our deepest sympathies are with his family members, friends and colleagues.

Councilmember Dave Rosenberg said a community meeting has been scheduled for Thursday at the Bellevue YMCA on Highway 100 at 7 p.m. where Metro officers from the West precinct will provide information and answer questions.

Metro police asked residents in the Traceside subdivision off Highway 100 whose vehicles were tampered with, or anyone with home surveillance video to please call 615-862-8600.  

News 2 is tracking crime where you live with CrimeTracker reports. Click here for more coverage.

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