Suspect Had Been Born Prematurely, Harbored Hostilities Toward Dr. Larson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department says there is no doubt that 30-year-old Ted Hoffstrom murdered Dr. Stephen Larson in his Orono home over the weekend.

Sources tell WCCO-TV that Larson, a 74-year-old OBGYN doctor, delivered Hoffstrom, who was born prematurely and suffered from mental and physical ailments. Hoffstrom allegedly blamed those issues on the delivery. Hoffstrom was believed to have long harbored hostility towards Larson.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said Hoffstrom had recently been vocal in expressing those hostilities. Stanek would not say, however, if Larson was aware of those feelings.

“This is a tragedy of epic proportions for both families involved, as well as the community of Orono,” Stanek said. “We want to offer our condolences to family and friends affected by this double tragedy.”

Larson was on the phone with a patient when he answered the door at his Orono home Friday night. The patient heard words exchanged and the phone went dead. It was the patient who called 911.

Audio from the sheriff’s dispatch reveals officers encountered a despondent Hoffstrom. Officers can be heard asking each other for a Taser. They also talk about Hoffstrom’s gun.

“Mr. Hoffstrom was armed with a semi-automatic handgun and after diligent attempts to negotiate with Mr. Hoffstrom, shots were fired. Mr. Hoffstrom died at the scene,” Stanek said.

Officers then discovered the deceased Larson inside his home. He had died of multiple gunshot wounds before officers arrived.

Stanek would not release many details of the case, citing patient privacy, but did provide reassurance to the Orono community.

“We want you to know that this was not a random act, that Mr. Hoffstrom is the one and only suspect in the death of Dr. Stephen Larson and that no other suspects are being sought at this time,” Stanek said. “We want the residents of Orono to know that it’s a safe community and that there is no public safety threat at this time.”

Four Orono officers are now on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. They have been identified as Chief of Police Correy Famiok, Officer Brad Schoenherr, Officer Paul Hooper and Officer Josh Needham.

Hoffstrom, who lived with his parents in St. Anthony, graduated from St. Thomas law school in 2009 and, according to court records, just three week ago he was sworn in as an attorney.

He graduated high school at St. Anthony Village High School, and played for their golf team.

He lived in St. Anthony with his parents.

Dr. Larson is not the only victim of violence against a medical professional.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care workers face a significant risk of workplace violence.

In fact, 48 percent of all work-place attacks that didn’t end in death were towards medical professionals or social workers.

But according to Jim Schwebel of Schwebel, Goetz and Sieben law office, anger also plays out in court – and an OB/GYN is often a target.

”Typically, OB/GYNs would be subjected, at least from a monetary standpoint, to the largest lawsuits,” Schwebel said.