Twin Cities Teen Charged In 2 Fatal Iowa Shootings

By Adam Carter, NewsRadio 830 WCCOCaroline Lowe, WCCO-TV and James Schugel, WCCO-TV

ALGONA, Iowa (WCCO) — Authorities in Iowa charged a 17-year-old from the Twin Cities for two store clerk killings at two different convenience stores in north central Iowa overnight.

Michael Richard Swanson of St. Louis Park, Minn., was charged as an adult with two counts each of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in separate slayings at stores in Kossuth and Humboldt counties.

Kossuth County Attorney Todd Holmes said one clerk was shot in the face around 9 p.m. Monday at the Crossroads gas station in Algona.

That victim has been identified as 47-year-old Vicky Bowman-Hall, of Burt, Iowa. According to the charges filed, Swanson entered the convenience store with a loaded handgun and a duffel bag, demanding money and cigarettes from Bowman-Hall, who complied.

Swanson, who was wearing a ski mask at the time, then allegedly shot her in the face. She was pronounced dead at arrival at Kossuth Regional Health Center.

A former boss said Bowman-Hall had 10 kids, ranging in age from 5 to 22.

“She definitely didn’t deserve it,” said her son, John Bowman.

He got the news shortly after it happened.

“It just feels like a nightmare, you know, that you can’t really wake up from,” Bowman said. “There’s going to be a lot of people that will never forget her.”

Holmes said another clerk was shot and killed about 10:30 p.m. at the Kum & Go in Humboldt. The victim in Humboldt, identified as 61-year-old Sheila Myers, was discovered when the person scheduled to work the next shift arrived.

Autopsies on both women will be performed at the State Medical Examiner’s office in Ankeny, Iowa.

The two cities are separated by about 25 miles along Highway 169. Both are west of Mason City.

McDonalds, shooting, suspect, iowa, shootings, fatal, michael swanson

(credit: CBS)

Swanson, who was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, was arrested at a McDonald’s in Webster City, about 60 miles from where the first shooting occurred. He was being held in the Kossuth County jail in Algona and was expected to make an initial court appearance later Tuesday.

“Anytime something like this strikes a community, there is a wake up call that no matter where you are or what you’re doing that safety is your top priority,” Holmes said.

Holmes said it appears Swanson acted alone and that no link was found between the stores where the shootings occurred.

Holmes declined to disclose some details about the shootings, including whether investigators found the gun used in the attacks; whether there were others in the stores at the time of the shootings; whether Swanson had been using drugs or alcohol; or why Swanson was in Iowa.

Hennepin County juvenile court records show Swanson’s mother reported that he stole her Jeep, a cash card and then broke into the family’s cabin in Big Fork, Minn. and stole a rifle. Then booked it to Iowa.

A warrant was issued for his arrest because he was already on probation for stealing a car. He was sent to a Hennepin County juvenile home last July for four months and was released on Nov. 5.

On Nov. 8, he enrolled at St. Louis Park Senior High School.

Police records show multiple calls to his home on Sumter Avenue, including one for shots fired, assault and theft. No specific information was available, however, because the calls involve a juvenile.

If convicted of the first-degree murder, Swanson would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • tom

    White kied ffom St Louis Park. He’ll never see the light of day again.

    • Susan

      Lock him up and throw away the key!

    • Mark J.VonBank

      This has really hit home for me as I am orginally from Algona, Iowa -its where I grew up till I was 12 years old moving to Minnesota in 1970. What was this 17 year old thinking?? I don’t understand why he would want to go and kill two innocent people who were doing their jobs and providing for their families. I am sure he was troubled- but this kid needs help. He won’t be able to harm anyone again. I feel very bad for the victims families and also this kids parents having to deal with this. It makes no sense. Its bad enough to do it at all but then he did it twice- then he thought everyone was so funny-well who is laughing Now??? Certainly Not HIM!!! My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the innocent victims whose lives were taken for no reason.May God Be With You All-Sincerely, Mark J.VonBank-Park Rapids, Minnesota-formerly of Algona, Iowa.

  • Bad Egg

    An Eye for an Eye

  • concerned

    God Bless the lost ones. God have Mercy on the accused.

  • Gary Becker

    When is it every going to stop. We must all pray on our knees, and one of the greatest sacrifices we can make to God is fasting. Let’s begin now.

    • Jackie

      You go ahead and do that, mean while I am going to live in reality you just go ahead and read your fantasy book called the bible, great fairy tale..

      • Alan

        Really? Where is the corpse of Jesus? Or Mary? Everything Jesus predicted is coming true. The only fantasy is thinking you’re smarter than God.

      • Sanya

        JACKIE, don’t you mock God and the Bible. Keep God out of your sarcastic jokes.

      • Sanya

        JACKIE, not knowing or honoring the law doesn’t make you free from law. Just a thought.

      • JamieinMN

        Yes let’s all pray to the sky, that will fix ALL of our world’s problems! Come on now…

      • Zoey

        I pray for you who thinks that the Bible is a fairy tale. Where did you come from? – An ape, the stork or a petri dish? Do you not realize that you came from God and without Him you would be even more of an idiot to be so lacking in knowledge!!!

      • JamieinMN

        HEY! What if I DID come from a petri dish?!?!?! Or a test tube?!?!!! Regardless, respect everyone’s beliefs, even if they do not share the same as you.

      • Sanya

        JAMIEinMN, it’s not peoples beliefs, people just make themselves feel comfortable and avoid facing the Truth. This country was founded on Christian principles, that’s why it is prosperous (compare to the rest of the world). And you live here, taking advantage of it and taking it for granted, plus laughing at the Truth that gives you an opportunity to be who you are. If you don’t agree with me, go back and read the history of how this country was founded. I wasn’t born here and I have to tell you this. You need to go oversees, look at other countries and you’ll come back kissing this land. The word belief doesn’t even go for you then. It’s UNbelief.

    • Patrick

      You sound like a peasant from the middle ages. get off your knees and deal with the facts as they exist before you. This kid did what he did for a reason. The reason may simply be that he is crazy, he might be on drugs or he may have been abused. Study the situation and maybe, just maybe we could learn to prevent this type of thing. God is simply the name we give to what we don’t yet understand.

      • Sanye

        PATRICK I don’t care how I sound. Plus, we didn’t talk about the kid. What he did is horrible. But our subject was totally different.

      • Sanya

        The funny thing is when something terrible happens in our life , we run to church, pray, ask for spiritual help, etc. When things are OK, God doesn’t exist. Anyways, you can’t convince people to be happy and blessed against their will. So long, fellas

      • joy

        Patrick, your ignorance saddens me. How sad that you would insult a man for praying. Wow.

      • M. Austin

        I think Patrick was referring to the Gary Becker guy and what Patrick said is full of common sense. I hope the kids left without a mother will recover from this and find happiness down the line.

      • emissary21

        Get off your high horse and quit telling others how they should feel, or deal with things. The FACT is that each person deals in their own way, regardless of what your arrogant @ss thinks they should. YOU study the situation, heck do what ever the heck it is YOU want, and we’ll do what we feel we need to.
        Jak @ss

  • 12

    shoot him in the face. see how he likes it.

    • CitizenKane

      couldnt agree more!

  • disgusted

    Is there a death penalty in Iowa? If anyone deserves it, this punk does.

    • No Name

      I went to school with this kid! Unbelievable…

    • mike27

      there isnt a death penalty in iowa but when someone gets life here its means life.

  • MN MOM

    Does Iowa have capital punishment. What a little creep.

  • Mary

    Perhaps, Just perhaps, there is no god. Maybe he is just a screwed up person.

    • Karen (algona)

      that’s sad if thats what you believe.

  • Mother of four

    Iowa doesn’t have capital punishment as far as I know. Michael will be charged as an adult from what was said in the press conference at 1 pm today. I feel for the victims but I can’t imagine what his parents are going through as well. Our communities are still wandering why and I think we all will wander this. Vicky was a lovely mother who would light up a room with a smile. She would always make your day turn around even if you thought it was bad. If only Michael could have seen that in her eyes before he pulled the trigger!

  • No Name

    Went to school with this kid, He has always been a little “not there”.
    And this was back in 7th/8th grade.
    God bless all the deceased and their families.

    God have mercy on Mike.

  • XZY

    Please put him in death sentence than life sentence! Waste our taxes on
    He will eat free foods and watch on tv as free tax..

    • Patrick

      It costs a lot of money and takes many years to get a death penalty conviction. There are expensive appeals and then the kid sits for years waiting for the execution. he is young though so it might save some money. I’ll be happy just as long as he is never on the street again. He is a very screwed up kid.

  • dave

    We need to re-visit the 8th Amendment. This guy deserves a bit of cruel and unusual.

  • Joe

    Big tough words by all of you. You want change? Go volunteer to read to 2nd graders and help head off the problems rather than scream execution from your cozy laptop and then proceed to watch the football game. You think these problems started yesterday? Get a clue; get educated.

    • ccofan

      Agree! We have to rewind to discover what led to the tragic events last night!

    • LD

      You can direct your get educated comment to all those parents out there that refuse to believe their little Johnny is ever guilty. I worked with this boys mother for years and never a day went by without a little Michael story and of course it was never his fault.

  • Jack

    we need the death penalty!

  • Another MN Mom

    Joe needs to get a life. No, two wrongs do not make a right, but neither of these two store clerks deserved this nor did their families. This youngster needs help.

  • Amy

    As the mother of 7, It pains me greatly to see that the system yet again failed another child! I will be praying for all involved as this crime was so senseless.

  • ACS

    I just found out today that the lady killed in humbolt was a cousin’s wife. i really wish we had the death penalty here in iowa. i would have dared him to come to my town and even try something like that.if i saw him try or do something like that i’d bring out the reliable 870(it’s a shotgun fo rpeople who don’t know what the number means) and you get where this is going i’m sure

  • marge e

    why the smile on his face no remorce

  • pickyone

    These comments are crazy…this is about 3 families in devistation…if you believe in God then pray for them, if you don’t then feel sorry for them…but do NOT bring this debate into a place where grieving families might see such stupidity!

  • Heather

    From the reports given it said that he tortured animals and committed offenses as early as 8. He should have help a LONG time ago. He smiles because he finds it funny. He has NO remorse. He feels nothing..these are classic signs of him being a psychopath. He is going to grow old in prison and be protected from society getting any real justice. I believe in God but he f-ed up on this one.There is no hope for him. My deepest sympathies to the two families that lost these women. And to Michael’s mother….abortion was an option!

    • mom of 3 boys

      How pathetic are you saying something like that!!!!!

    • concernedcitizen

      I would like to first say that my prayers are going out to the families of everyone involved.
      @Heather… I understand that when we as a people see this kind of thing happen it hits home and can make us angry. But to say those things to Michael’s mother is so wrong. You do not know who she is. You do not have a right to pass judgement on a women who is probably grieving as well. Yes Micheal should be held accountable for his actions. But to say there is no hope for him is wrong. We shouldn’t be throwing stones when we all live in glass houses ourselves. NOBODY is perfect. And I am not trying to belittle the crimes that this young man commited. I just think that words of encouragement go a lot further in helping then tearing down people you don’t even know.
      Again, my prayers are with all involved.

  • Paul H. Krumrei

    Someone should slap the smile off his face!

  • Theresa

    “And to Michael’s mother….abortion was an option!”
    What a stupid comment. How is that justified? Do not blame the killers mother. She did not pull the trigger. I am sure she is grieving (although differently) as well.

    • mom of 3 boys

      I totally agree with you that was a stupid comment!!!

  • Julie

    My thoughts and prayers are with Michael, with those who love him, and those who love the ones he murdered. I cannot make sense of this because it does not make sense. It is horrible, it is sad, it is senseless. It is what makes me fear for my grandchildren’s future. God had nothing to do with this – I am certain He watched in horror and wept. Free will – a gift, and a curse, I am curious why He trusted us with it.

    • Jonesy

      Why are you praying for this sick disgusting child? As far as I am concerned he decided where he will spend eternity when he shot those poor defenseless women. I will pray for his mother and father and family, but never for him.

  • Pate

    This kid gives me the creeps.With his delusional cavalier attitude,he reminds me of Jason McLaughlin,the Rocori High School shooter from several years back.Clearly not of his right mind!

  • 43 Hours

    What a sad sad tragedy for these 2 women who went to work that day and had NO clue that by midnight their lives would be over. When they left for work they kissed their loved ones good bye and went out to make a living. This kid ROBBED his mom, ROBBED the convenience stores and ROBBED two families and many relatives and friends of two precious living beings. Try to even imagine the devastation this has caused to everyone involved. This boy is a PSYCHOPATH – yes – he is a boy!!! Maybe if we didn’t pay our pro-football teams 9 million or so dollars a year per player and spend some of that on improving help for children, this world wouldn’t be so sick!!!

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