Governor Kim Reynolds says the Iowa National Guard’s adjutant general has briefed her about the Guard’s connection to last week’s shooting at an Ames church, as a man who’d been a member of the Guard since 2015 shot a woman to death who was a member of the same unit.
The Story County Sheriff says Johnathan Whitlach shot 22-year-old Eden Montang and another women, then shot himself to death. Montang had recently ended a relationship with Whitlach and he had been charged at the end of May with harassing her at work. Reynolds today said leaders of the Guard were aware of Whitlach’s actions.
“He was full-time and relieved of duty and so I have to be careful how much is out and what isn’t,” Reynolds said. “There were some steps that had been taken.”
Whitlach was seeing a mental health counselor, according to the governor. “But again, some people just have evil in their heart and I don’t know what we can do and it’s not necessarily a gun,” Reynolds said. “We’ve seen them use other things, especially in domestic abuse.”
Montang’s friend, 21-year-old Vivian Flores, was also shot to death outside Cornerstone Church in Ames. The two women were active in a youth ministry at the church.