Witness describes shooting at Iowa courthouse

AP News
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Posted: Sep 10, 2014 5:02 PM
Witness describes shooting at Iowa courthouse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man who was killed during a public meeting shot at a county official despite numerous pleas from a group to put the gun down, a witness said Wednesday.

Francis Glaser pulled a small handgun from a briefcase Tuesday as a group prepared to leave a recently adjourned county supervisors meeting at the Jackson County Courthouse in Maquoketa, a town about 150 miles northeast of Des Moines.

Glaser demanded the meeting resume so officials could discuss his rising property taxes, said county Supervisor Jack Willey.

"All of us said, 'Gus, no, this isn't the way to deal with this. Put the gun down. Put the gun down,'" he said while referencing Glaser's nickname.

Officials had decided to end the meeting after Glaser, 71, a former city manager for Maquoketa, became more agitated.

"We noticed as the meeting was going on that the coloring that Gus had, usually when people get mad, they turn red. But he didn't turn red. It was like the blood was draining from him. He was just turning white as a ghost," he said.

As the supervisors ended the meeting and County Assessor Deb Lane headed for the door, Glaser pulled out the gun. Despite the pleas, he shot once at Lane. The bullet missed and hit the glass door. He started heading toward Lane when Larry Koos, another county supervisor, tackled Glaser to the floor. Others helped keep him down.

"What I was telling myself to do was drive my legs forward, drive, drive, drive him into the wall," Koos told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

During the scuffle, a second shot was fired, hitting Glaser. Authorities arrived and pronounced him dead.

Koos, who suffered minor injuries from the broken glass, was treated at a hospital and released.

Willey, who returned to the courthouse Wednesday along with the other supervisors, said he keeps reliving the scene.

"Deb was obviously his target," he said. "When you think back, if he had got her on the first shot, he wasn't happy with us either. Who knows where the gun would have been pointed next."