Woodbury County, Iowa - In an incident on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at approximately 7:31pm, the Woodbury County Communications Center received a 911 call. The call came from a male victim who reported that his son was firing shots at him at 2595 D 25, also known as Old Highway 141.
Deputies responded to the scene, establishing a perimeter around the area. It was discovered that the suspect remained on-site in a white pickup truck. At 9:10pm, authorities made contact with the suspect via phone, but instead of seeking a peaceful resolution, the suspect made threats towards law enforcement officers.
The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office promptly sought assistance from various law enforcement agencies, including the Sioux City Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Tri-County CERT Team (comprising Plymouth, Sioux, and Cherokee County Sheriffs, Le Mars and Cherokee Police Departments). These agencies deployed armored vehicles and tactical personnel to the scene, with the Iowa State Patrol providing vital air support.
Throughout the night, a crisis negotiator from the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office attempted to communicate with the suspect. However, at approximately 2:45am, while the negotiator was working towards a peaceful surrender, the suspect opened fire on the tactical teams attempting to apprehend him. Faced with gunfire and fearing for their lives, law enforcement personnel returned fire, ultimately fatally injuring the suspect.
Medical personnel were summoned, but the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The deceased victim has been identified as Todd C. Sulsberger, 72, residing at 2595 County Road D25 (Old Hwy 141). The deceased suspect is Walter M. Sulsberger, 44, residing at 2853 Grundy Ave.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was immediately called in to investigate both the officer-involved shooting and the homicide. The scene was secured until the arrival of the DCI, who has since taken over the investigation.
The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office extends its gratitude to the numerous agencies that provided assistance during this incident, including the Woodbury County Communications Center, Woodbury County Conservation, Woodbury County Attorney James Loomis, Woodbury County EOC, Woodbury County Emergency Management, Sioux City Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Tri-County CERT Team, ATF, Iowa DCI, Sloan Ambulance, Hornick Fire/Ambulance, and Wings Air Care.
About 7:30 pm on Sunday, October 29th Woodbury County 911 received a call of shots being fired near Hornick, Iowa.
When Woodbury County deputies initially arrived they were unable to locate any victim or suspect. Dispatch was no longer able to get in touch with the 911 caller. Deputies did locate cows out and a fence down in the area. Initially, Wings1 was requested to the scene but when no patient was located they returned to base.
A short time later Iowa State Patrol, Sioux City Police, and Plymouth County Deputies (SWAT Teams) were called in to assist as well as other resources. The suspect was located and monitored with Iowa State Patrol Aircraft and a negotiator was on the phone with the subject off and on for hours trying to arrange his surrender.
The incident came to an end just before 3:00 am as Law Enforcement moved in on the subject's position and took him into custody.
During the incident, numerous shots were fired by the subject and multiple hay bales started on fire. No information is currently available about the status or name of the Suspect or the person who initally called 911.