Reporting Bill Hudson
LAKE CITY, Minn. (WCCO) – A Lake City, Minn. officer is in critical condition after being shot in the head early Monday morning. After a day-long standoff at the home where the shooting occurred, a man’s body has been found.
Patrol Officer Shawn Schneider, 32, was shot around 8:31 a.m. on the 600 block of West Lyon Avenue. Schneider and another officer were dispatched to the residence on a report of a domestic incident involving a handgun.
Upon arrival, Schneider went to the front door while the second officer went to the rear of the home.
Schneider was then shot in the head by 25-year-old Alan J. Sylte Jr., of Hager City, Wis. After the shooting, police say Sylte ran back inside the home. A woman was also inside the home but was not harmed.
Schneider was transported to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester in critical condition.
“Obviously, everybody is very saddened by it, you know, you got a local officer, family, it’s like extremely sad,” said Ed Sprout, a Lake City resident.
Police report that two shots were fired at the time Schneider was hit but it’s not clear what, if anything, was hit by the second bullet.
“As far as we know, there were two shots, both fired from the suspect’s weapon,” said Chief Gary Majchrzak, of the Lake City Police.
SWAT teams, sheriff’s deputies from both Wabasha and Olmsted counties and the Lake City Police Department all responded to the scene mid-morning.
Police believe Sylte retreated back into the residence on Lyon Avenue. However, as no further contact has been made with the suspect since the incident, police stressed people in the area remain vigilant and on the lookout for any suspected sightings.
Police said Sylte spend time in the military, so they took extra precautions. However, they did not specify what those precautions were.
By late afternoon, and having had no contact with Sylte, plans were made to make a move and end a violent and sad day. SWAT team members attempted to break into the home using robotic devices and armored equipment in an effort to bring Sylte out. SWAT teams then entered the residence and located a man’s body around 6 p.m. on the second floor of the home.
The Department of Public Safety said they believe the body that was found was the man responsible for the shooting. The Wabasha County Medical Examiner will positively identify the body.
Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh said the cause of death was likely a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lake City Public Schools reported they had entered lockdown mode in response to the situation. The school district said all students were safe. After finding the body, law enforcement advised school officials to end the lockdown and transport students home.
When Lake City resident Dan Coyle heard the news of the shooting, his heart sank. He’d rented Schneider, a 10-year veteran of the force, a home when the young officer first moved to town.
“It was just like somebody kicked me in the gut,” he said. “All the enthusiasm I had for the new day, the new week, just disappeared.”
Lake City is a 10-member police force and has not had an officer shot since the late 1970s.
Schneider has been with the Lake City Police Department since 2003. He remains in the hospital with his wife and three children.
Lake City Police Chief Gary Majchrzak said Schneider is conscious, but not speaking. Last he saw, Schneider is holding his wife’s hand.