ORONO, Minn. (WCCO) — Family and friends are in shock after a prominent Twin Cities doctor was gunned down in his home in Orono Friday night.
According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, police were called to a home on the 1000 block of Heritage Road just before 9 p.m., where they found a man in the front of the property with a handgun.
Authorities said shots were exchanged and police killed the man.
Law enforcement searched the house and found another man, later identified as Dr. Stephen Larson, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
Larson was a well-known physician who delivered thousands of babies in his career.
Dr. Regina Cho worked with Larson on Friday at his private practice, OBGYN Specialists.
“It’s just not fair. This wasn’t his time. He had so much more to contribute,” Cho said. “It’s been a difficult day.”
She says at age 74, Larson – a husband, father and grandfather – showed no signs of slowing down.
She added that Larson was adamant about putting the patient first.
“He was compassionate and he got to know his patients. He never forgot a name. He has delivered generations and generations of babies,” she said.
Larson was beloved by patients like Karen McColl of Apple Valley, who says she would have died during the birth of her youngest daughter if it wasn’t for his skills.
“He saved my life … and then he’s delivered one of my grandchildren,” McColl said. “What a wonderful guy. I just can’t believe it.”
The news of his death has left his patients and colleagues questioning how and why something like this could happen to a man who was known for his kindness and compassion.
“Dr. Larson didn’t have enemies, I mean, everyone loved him,” Cho said.
Stephen Larson’s daughter, Stacey Larson, says her father was a “wonderful man.”
“Very huge heart that man had … and I’m proud to have been given that same heart,” Larson said.
Kurt Retzler, Larson’s neighbor, says he was a beloved member of the community, and served as the head of the neighborhood association.
“This is a real shock,” Retzler said. “It’s unbelievable. I can’t even think about it, it makes me sick to talk about it … This is a quiet neighborhood.”
Retzler said Stephen Larson’s father was a doctor as well.
Other members of Larson’s family told WCCO that they’re not ready to talk publicly.
At the time of the murder, Larson’s wife was at the couple’s winter home in Arizona.
His colleagues say they’re focused on keeping his practice going, which is what they say he would want them to do.
Investigators say this wasn’t a random crime. The name of the man who was shot dead by police has not been released.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident.