The family expressed grief and thanked the public for its outpouring of sympathy.
The family of an prominent ob/gyn physician slain last week said Wednesday that they had never heard of the man who killed the doctor last week at his Orono home before being shot to death by police.
They also expressed shock and grief about the events of last Friday night, and thanked friends, neighbors and colleagues for the outpouring of “compassion and kindness” that they have received.
Dr. Stephen Larson, 74, was shot and killed at his home on Friday by Ted C. Hoffstrom, a 30-year-old St. Anthony law school graduate. Authorities said earlier this week that Hoffstrom had expressed hostility toward Larson because of how he believed the doctor had treated his mother in an undisclosed medical situation.
In an interview, Larson’s eldest son, Christopher, 48, said the killing happened while Larson’s wife and children were scattered in five different states, and that the family had never heard of Hoffstrom. “It’s a complete surprise and obviously a shock to us,” he said. “None of us had ever heard his name or are aware of any prior contact whatsoever.”
“We are still trying to comprehend this sudden and tragic loss,” the family said in a prepared statement. “We will always grieve the way Stephen’s life ended.”
Hoffstrom was shot to death by police when he confronted them in the doctor’s yard. Shortly afterward, officers found Larson dead in his home, shot with the same gun that Hoffstrom had wielded.
The Larson family requested privacy after the shooting and had not previously commented publicly.
They repeated their wish for privacy Wednesday, and said the family will hold a small private ceremony to mark Dr. Larson’s passing. They also thanked the Orono Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and the media for “the respectful distance they have maintained during this tragic situation.”
Christopher Larson said that the family appreciates the outpouring of love and respect for his father, and will plan a public memorial service after the investigation has concluded, probably sometime next spring or summer.
Hoffstrom’s family has not commented on the actions of their son or his death. In an online obituary, they said visitation will be held Nov. 26, with services Nov. 27, at a Minneapolis church. Those who knew Hoffstrom said he was friendly and personable.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation of the matter. After the shootings, the four Orono officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave.
The Larson family statement said that memorials in Dr. Larson’s memory can be directed to the Mayo Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for Education.
“While many questions remain unanswered, the family is moving forward with completing the difficult tasks associated with saying goodbye to a loved one,” they said.
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388