Police audio of Dr. Stephen Larson, Ted Hoffstrom shooting deaths raises questions
Larson (left) and Hoffstrom.
Just before 9 p.m. Friday, Orono police arrived at a home on the 1000 block of Heritage Lane in Orono on a welfare check.
Upon arrival, officers found 30-year-old St. Thomas law school graduate Ted Hoffstrom outside the home. Less than a minute later, an officer requested a Taser -- "We need somebody with a Taser up here," one says on the dispatcher audio, adding seconds later, "We need to Tase him ASAP here." That same officer then reports that "the gun" is "five feet to his right on the front step." (Correction -- an earlier version of this post contained a police audio transcription in this paragraph that actually pertained to a separate emergency call about a suicidal individual fielded by dispatchers at roughly the same time.)
Seconds after the Taser comments, another officer announced, "shots fired." Hoffstrom died from multiple gunshot wounds, and officers entering the Heritage Lane home would also find Dr. Stephen Larson, 74, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. (You can listen to the raw police audio here.)
The relationship between Hoffstrom and Larson isn't clear at this point, but KSTP, citing "a source with information from the case," reports that Hoffstrom and Larson at least "knew each other." From the report:
The source says Dr. Larson assisted with the delivery when Hoffstrom was born 30 years ago...
Sources tell KSTP that Hoffstrom arrived at Larson's door as Larson was on the phone. The person on the other end of the phone heard gunshots and called police.
After the identities of the two deceased men became clear, Hoffstrom's family released this statement: "It is with great sadness that we extend our heartfelt prayers and sympathy to the family of Dr. Stephen Larson. Our hearts are broken for all of those affected by this tragic event. We are shocked and saddened by this news, and many questions remain unanswered."
The Pioneer Press has some background information about Larson:
Larson was a prominent surgeon who spoke nationally and internationally, wrote many articles and operated with doctors who had invented some of the surgical techniques he used, said Krista Olsen, a colleague and physician at OBGYN Specialists [with locations in Edina and Burnsville].
Larson delivered thousands of babies in Minnesota throughout his decades-long career, including three generations of some families...
Larson, who was affiliated with the Fairview hospitals, founded OBGYN Specialists in 1980.
And a Star Tribune report contains some interesting perspective on Hoffstrom from Katharine Tinucci, a former classmate of Hoffstrom's at St. Thomas who now works as Gov. Mark Dayton's press secretary:
Tinucci... expressed shock at the news that Hoffstrom was killed.
She said she could not imagine that he would be in any kind of trouble.
She had seen him recently, she said, working the phone banks for the DFL Party and chatted with him.
He told her that he was looking for work.
"He was just the nicest guy," she said.
Hoffstrom makes one appearance in the City Pages archives -- in the spring of 2008, he was one of many signatories on a letter to a St. Thomas dean protesting the St. Thomas School of Law's decision to restrict students from fulfilling required volunteer hours with Planned Parenthood.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office officials are scheduled to hold a news conference about the incident this afternoon. They've so far remained mum about the case, citing the active investigation into what happened at the Heritage Lane home on Friday night.
We'll keep you abreast of developments.
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