Father, Son Dead After Shootings In Northwest Iowa

Woodbury County Sheriff Chad SheehanPhoto: Woodbury County Iowa Sheriff's Office

(Woodbury County, IA) -- A father and son are dead after two shootings in northwest Iowa's Woodbury County. Sheriff Chad Sheehan says a Hornick, Iowa man called 911 Sunday night and said his son was shooting at him. Deputies arrived and found the body of 72-year-old Todd Sulsberger as well as the suspected shooter, 44-year-old Walter Sulsberger.

Sheriff Sheehan says after 9 p.m. he as able to contact Sulsberger over the phone, who told the sheriff "There would be no peaceful resolutions and made threats toward law enforcement officers."

During an hours-long standoff deputies came under heavy gunfire, while the crisis negotiator was trying to convince Sulsberger to surrender. Deputies returned fire and shot and killed Walter Sulsberger early this (Monday) morning.

Several law enforcement departments from northwest Iowa assisted the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, with some of them bringing all their armored vehicles and tactical personnel. The Iowa State Patrol also brought in air support to help deal with the situation.

“To say that last night was anything less than frightening would be an understatement,” said Sheriff Sheehan. “It was something, as the [police] chief and I spoke this morning, we could not have imagined that we would be involved in something that was as dramatic as it was last night for the tactical teams that were there when they came under heavy fire from a suspect.”

Sheriff Sheehan says several large hay bales in the area were set on fire during the incident, which could be seen from miles away. It unclear who set the hay bales on fire.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was contacted to investigate the officer-involved shooting and Todd Sulsberger’s homicide. Both remain under investigation and the Iowa DCI is expected to release more information at a later date.

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