Woodbury County Attorney James Loomis says officers were justified in shooting a man to death in rural Hornick last October 29th. Forty-four-year-old Walter Sulsberger died in a shoot out with officers

Loomis says Walter’s father Todd called 911 around 7 p.m. and told them his son was going to shoot him.  “About a minute and a half into the call you can hear what sounds like a single gunshot the line remained open but there was no response from Todd. Deputies arrived on scene and shortly upon arrival could hear automatic gunfire coming from the feedlot as they tried to assess a situation that was escalating quickly,” he says. Loomis says Walter told officers he had killed his 72-year-old father and was not going to surrender.

“Instead he fired off multiple volleys of automatic gunfire as law enforcement work to identify his location on the feedlot which initially was not known Walter made threats to negotiators that there would be quote a parade for any officer who approached,” Loomis says, Loomis says Sulsberger set several hay bales on fire in an effort to hide where he was, and there was a five-and-a-half hour standoff.

Armored vehicles were brought in and Sheriff Chad Sheehan says a heated gun battle then broke out. “The suspect fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition from what investigators described as an illegally modified rifle, making it fire as if it were full auto,” Sheehan says. “Multiple law enforcement officers with military combat experience were on scene that night, and told me that when the tactical teams moved in to take the suspect into custody, the gun battle that ensued sounded like a war zone in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Loomis says Walter Sulsberger was eventually killed by officers. “Law Enforcement could hear the rounds repeatedly striking their armored vehicles. One of the armored vehicles was disabled by his gunfire.” Loomis says. “Officers returned fire and after several minutes of gunfire it ended.” Loomis and the Iowa Attorney General both reviewed the D-C-I report and determined the shooting was justified.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)