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.)

Comments (71)
  1. tom says:

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

    1. Susan says:

      Lock him up and throw away the key!

    2. Mark J.VonBank says:

      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.

  2. Bad Egg says:

    An Eye for an Eye

  3. concerned says:

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

  4. Gary Becker says:

    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.

    1. Jackie says:

      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..

      1. Alan says:

        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.

      2. Sanya says:

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

      3. Sanya says:

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

      4. JamieinMN says:

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

      5. Zoey says:

        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!!!

      6. JamieinMN says:

        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.

      7. Sanya says:

        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.

    2. Patrick says:

      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.

      1. Sanye says:

        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.

      2. Sanya says:

        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

      3. joy says:

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

      4. M. Austin says:

        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.

      5. emissary21 says:

        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

  5. 12 says:

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

    1. CitizenKane says:

      couldnt agree more!

  6. disgusted says:

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

    1. No Name says:

      I went to school with this kid! Unbelievable…

    2. mike27 says:

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

  7. MN MOM says:

    Does Iowa have capital punishment. What a little creep.

  8. Mary says:

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

    1. Karen (algona) says:

      that’s sad if thats what you believe.

  9. Mother of four says:

    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!

  10. No Name says:

    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.

  11. XZY says:

    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..

    1. Patrick says:

      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.

  12. dave says:

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

  13. Joe says:

    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.

    1. ccofan says:

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

    2. LD says:

      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.

  14. Jack says:

    we need the death penalty!

  15. Another MN Mom says:

    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.

  16. Amy says:

    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.

  17. ACS says:

    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

  18. marge e says:

    why the smile on his face no remorce

  19. pickyone says:

    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!

  20. Heather says:

    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!

    1. mom of 3 boys says:

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

    2. concernedcitizen says:

      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.

  21. Paul H. Krumrei says:

    Someone should slap the smile off his face!

  22. Theresa says:

    “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.

    1. mom of 3 boys says:

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

  23. Julie says:

    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.

    1. Jonesy says:

      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.

  24. Pate says:

    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!

  25. 43 Hours says:

    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!!!

  26. Patrick says:

    What’s with all the pointless god stuff? Praying won’t help anything. You turn to science and reason when there is trouble. You don’t run to a fake man in the sky. Judging by the smile on this kids face and the list of things he did there is something wrong in his brain. He could be a born psychopath, he could have been profoundly abused, He could be a user of hard drugs. My point is that the cause is worth looking at and it might not get this far with the next kid if we understand what happened. I’m glad he was caught, seems like he would have just kept going otherwise.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Finally someone with reason!! I’m with you Patrick. This kid needed psychological help long ago and the parents did nothing about it.

    2. Emissary21 says:

      So says you. It’s people like you that were saying things like why sail across the ocean columbus? the worlds flat your just going to fall of the edge. Be reasonable, hah! you cant even be reasonable enough to entertain the idea that GOD exists. Whats that say about you?
      I’ll tell you, it says that your a pretty unreasonable individual. Telling others what to, or not to believe. If everyone thought like you we’d still believe the world was flat. Because, back then, that was the reasonable and scientific explanation.
      Here, i’ll be like you, whats with all this pointless science mumbo jumbo? you turn to God when there is trouble. Not some crap about chemical imbalance or deep psychological trauma brought on by years of drug, or physical abuse that made him do it. Nothing makes people make the choices they make, people, make the choices.

    3. mike27 says:

      AGREE 100%!!!! If its something good that happens all praise god but if its bad blame it on society or the system. how about where were the parents when he was growing up? If i would had done some of the stuff i heard he did i would have got my a** beat.. worked out well for me!

  27. shocked and saddened says:

    Algona is my hometown. I’ve thought about moving back many times because it feels like a safe place to live. Living there you kind of forget about the outside world, because well like I said it feels safe. I live in a bigger city now where murders and robberies sadly are things that happen often. But Algona? Things like this just don’t happen there. And I think that’s something that needs to be recognized. So many people brush it off like it’s no big deal. One thing that you’ll notice is that when tragic things like this happen it affects not just the family but the whole community. As a community Algona, Humboldt and surrounding towns will join together and help each other out during this difficult time. Some might ask why? Well because that’s the right thing to do. Please do not turn this into a debate on God. Whether you believe in God or not is beside the point. Sometimes bad things just happen to good people. Please keep in mind that tonight people are going to attempt to sleep without their loved one. Take a moment, hug your kids or tell someone that you love them. You never know when your time here is over.
    Rest in peace Vicky and Sheila, you will be missed dearly.

  28. Bren in Emmetsburg says:

    You people are something else bickering back and forth like this! Sympathy and thoughts are with the families and friends.

  29. Nancy Aleshire says:

    He is the perfect example of why we should rethink our juvenile justice laws. If a person commits heinous crimes or has no remorse, they need to be charged as adults no matter what their age. Kids such as this make a mockery of the system. They think they can do anything and only be sentenced as a juvenile. Thank goodness he is being charged as an adult. He needs to be locked up for a long time.

  30. pete123 says:

    Look into the face of evil

  31. Kathy says:

    My heart goes out to everyone that is sadden by this horrible act, Husbands,,lost their wives,,children lost their mothers,,and a mother lost her son, I cant imagine how 1 person could have destroyed so many lives and still have a smile on his face, We will never understand the reason if any behind this cruel act, I feel so sorry for all involved in this,,My thoughts and prayers are with you,

  32. Kathy says:

    Why is everyone in a relgion war right now, this should be bout the people that have lost their loved ones, Not bout god and the bible, Is everyone so insistant on making their views known that they have lost sight of what really happened and what theses people are going through? Show some respect and compassion for others,

  33. Brandyn says:

    thats only a half an hour away from where I live.. really hard to believe that it could happen so close in a place like this..

  34. DOMO says:

    Seriously peopel do things get over it i knew the kid. He wasn’t that bad I know he wanted to get clean and be good. He wanted a job and live a normal life. YALL AINT PERFECT EITHERRRR. he wasnt that bad seriously think bout his family they love him to…

  35. Jeff says:

    You people are ridiculous. Find another place to argue religion, this is not the place. My prayers go out to all involved and the families who are grieving.

  36. Dave says:

    I am curious to what kind of environment Michael grew up in? Divorced single Mom? No father? Spoiled brat? No discipline If the parent or parents knew their child was a screwball, they should of had him committed. Ultimately, the parents show some fault.

  37. DirtyHarry says:

    To many Catholics for my liking! BULLETS and lots of them. wipe his ass now

    Little Piece of @ss he hasnt seen anything yet wait till the spit comes from bubbas lips

  38. Jaylee says:

    Disgusting that this idiot is going to sit in jail for the rest of his life and I get to pay for him. Why would anyone feel anything for him or his family?? His parents should have seen this coming and intervened. He killed 2 people. I hope he get what he desreves in prison.

  39. Teri says:

    This monster has no soul. Look at his eyes. He’s a demon. HE will burn in hell for what he’s done.

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