Charges: Man asked ex-wife for last words before shooting her

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A 47-year-old St. Francis, Minnesota, man is charged with attempted second degree murder after police say he shot his ex-wife with a shotgun at her workplace in North St. Paul. 

On Nov. 23, North St. Paul police responded to a shooting at Anchor Mold and Tool Company on the 2200 block of 2nd Avenue. Police found a woman with blood on her head, chest and shoulder. She told them her ex-husband John Steurer had shot her.

Emergency crews took her to the hospital where she received treatment for a collapsed lung, injury to her small intestine and other injuries related to the shooting.

According to the criminal complaint, the two had finalized their divorce on Nov. 9 after 23 years of marriage. Steurer had been arrested in October, violating a restraining order she had against him.

The victim told police she was working in her office upstairs when Steurer came in holding a shotgun. In her office, Steurer asked her, “You have any last words?” It was not until he repeated the question did she realize he had the shotgun with him. She tried to run past him out of the office, but he grabbed her and pushed her back in. She yelled for her coworker downstairs to call 911. She broke free and was nearly down the stairs when Steurer shot her in her back, causing her to fall down the stairs.

She noticed Steurer was attempting to pump the shotgun again and ran away to another room. She attempted to close the door on him, but he got through and followed her out to the loading dock area.

She told police Steurer then knocked her to the ground. They started struggling for the shotgun, during which the woman believes she may have activated the safety. Steurer tried to shoot her, but when it wouldn’t fire, he started punching her and slamming her head into the floor. He hit her with the butt of the gun and yelled “You made a big f------- mistake. You made a big mistake.”

The woman got away and ran back inside the building, locked the door behind her and called 911.
Several hours after the incident, she received a voicemail from Steurer saying, “I’m sorry I had to do that to you. I can’t have you being with another guy, so that’s what I had to do.”

After the shooting, Steurer’s mother told police her son called her, telling her he shot his ex-wife. He told her, “As soon as the police stop me, I’m going to kill myself.” He called her again asking for the keys to his fishing house in northern Minnesota, but she refused to give them to him.

Authorities later found Steurer at Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids. After a 30-minute standoff with police, he shot himself several times, including in the face. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

If convicted, Steurer faces up to 20 years in prison.