Authorities in a small Nebraskan village announced that a man has been taken into custody in connection with the stabbing death of a Catholic priest who was attacked over the weekend in a church rectory.
According to a statement from the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Rev. Stephen Gutgsell was attacked on Sunday “during an invasion” of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.
After being brought to a hospital in Omaha, Gutgsell passed away from his wounds, according to church representatives. Fort Calhoun is located around 20 miles north of Omaha and has a population of about 1,000.
Just after five in the morning, police received a 911 call regarding an attempted break-in at the church. Officers discovered Gutgsell hurt and a possible attacker inside when they got there. According to a statement from Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson, Kierre L. Williams, 43, was taken into custody on suspicion of murder and using a weapon while committing a crime.
Williams is from Sioux City, Iowa, which is roughly 85 miles north of Fort Calhoun. It is unclear if he is represented by an attorney. There was a delay in the return of a message placed at the county jail.
In 2007, Gutgsell admitted to stealing $127,000 through deceit from a nearby church. He was placed on probation and mandated to make amends. Later on, he was moved to a different church. Church officials at the time claimed Gutgsell had learnt his lesson, acknowledged his transgression, and asked for forgiveness.
The Rev. Michael Gutgsell, his brother, also entered a guilty plea to theft charges earlier this year. From 1994 until 2003, he was the Omaha Archdiocese’s chancellor.
Authorities don’t think Stephen Gutgsell’s death had anything to do with his criminal past, Robinson told WOWT-TV. In response to inquiries from The Associated Press on the subject on Sunday, Robinson remained silent.
Riley Johnson, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Omaha, confirmed that Stephen and Michael Gutgsell were brothers but did not go further.