Iowa City Police are searching for a man who may’ve shot five people at an east-side home early this morning. Police received a 9-1-1 call to the home and found an adult woman and four children dead inside. The victims have not been identified.
Police are searching for the man who lived at the home, Steven Sueppel, and say he may be driving a tan minivan with an Iowa licence plate 501 B-L-O. Police also say there has been a crash on I-80 of a vehicle fitting that description, but the vehicle caught fire and police so far have not been able to make a positive I.D. of the person in the vehicle.
The 42-year-old Sueppel was a vice president and controller at Hills Bank and Trust in the Iowa City area. And was awaiting trial on one count of embezzlement of bank funds and six counts of money laundering to conceal that he’d embezzled nearly $560,000.
The shooting prompted the University of Iowa to use it’s new emergency alert system to warn people on campus. University spokesman Steve Parrott says they decided to use the alert system, even though the shooting was not university-related.
Parrott says they felt it was better to be safe than sorry in issuing the alert, and Iowa City police said the person involved in the shooting was believed to be driving about town. Parrott says they felt the alert might help police.
Parrott says the message said there was an "active shooter" driving around in a van, and if people saw the van, they should call police. Parott says this is the first time the alert system has been used for a non-weather emergency.
He says they will have to sit down after this and look at how to issue an alert to people to give them valuable information on what to do without scaring them. The U-I alert system was installed following the fatal shootings at Virginia Tech.