A 59-year-old man from St. James, Minn., was charged Monday in Watonwan County with murder in the fatal shootings of his wife and her daughter from a previous marriage.
According to the criminal complaint, Scott Francis Engelbrecht got into an argument Saturday evening with his wife, Joyce Ann Engelbrecht, 67, when she complained that he once again had forgotten their wedding anniversary. Scott Engelbrecht allegedly shot her in the forehead with a .22-caliber rifle, then turned the gun on her daughter, Rachel Elaine Linder, 43, shooting her three times, including once in the head at close range.
Linder's son, Dillion Paul Mathias, 20, called police to report the shootings in the 1100 block of 1st Avenue S. in St. James. He told police that after dinner, he had gone to the basement to watch TV when he heard a loud thump upstairs, as if someone had fallen. Mathias said he then heard his mother yell, "You shot her, you [expletive]!" So he grabbed a stun gun and ran upstairs, the complaint says.
Mathias told police that his grandfather turned toward him with the rifle, so he tried — unsuccessfully — to use the stun gun. Engelbrecht told him to run, Mathias said. He said he ran to the basement, locked himself in the bathroom and called 911.
St. James police officer Jonathan LeClaire arrived at 5:41 p.m. and saw Engelbrecht walking east through a neighbor's backyard carrying a rifle. LeClaire ordered him to drop his gun, and he leaned it against a tree.
Engelbrecht told LeClaire, "I shot her. I did it," the complaint says.
After the officer handcuffed Engelbrecht and put him in a squad car, he went inside his home and found Joyce Engelbrecht on the floor, wounded but seemingly alert. She was taken to Mayo-St. James Health Services and transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, where she died Sunday afternoon.
LeClaire found Linder's body on the porch of a neighbor's home two doors away. The Ramsey County medical examiner reported that she had been shot in the back, the left forearm and the head.
Engelbrecht did not deny the shooting, the complaint says. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, which carry maximum terms of 40 years in prison, and one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum term of seven years in prison.