Still more questions than answers following Stillwater shooting

12:07 PM, Dec 13, 2009   |    comments
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STILLWATER, Minn. -- Stillwater Police are trying to figure out why a man opened fire inside his home, killing his wife and injuring her daughter.

Neighbors who knew the couple have plenty of questions too.


A number of residents were home yesterday at the Victoria Villa apartment complex on the 1400 block of Greeley Street South in Stillwater when gunfire erupted.


Carly Padelford says, "I heard just like a big boom and I didn't know it was a gunshot for sure."


Arielle Schrimpf says, "First I thought it was the neighbors kids coming down the stairs and somebody fell.  And then that's when I peeked out my head and I saw all the commotion going on."


Neighbors say resident manager Trudy Propps had been shot, they say by her husband Gerald Propps.


Schrimpf describes her saying, "She was just a really sweet, quiet person and I would never think... anything could ever happen to her."


According to police, a woman had called from the Propps' apartment around 4:30 Friday afternoon asking for medical help for her husband.  During that 9-1-1 call, the dispatcher heard gunfire.


Neighbors say Trudy was shot in the back.  Her daughter, also wounded, pulled her out of the apartment into the hallway.


Neighbor Bobby Yates was right there.  He says, "I helped her pull her out.  We shut the door.  Her husband was still in there with the gun."


That's when police arrived.


Jeff Stender with Stillwater Police says, "The officer did enter the apartment under gunfire.  Ordered the suspect to drop his weapon and the suspect refused and the officer was forced to shoot him."


Bullets flew through Kitty Gavegnano's apartment walls across the hall.  This friend of Trudy's says, "When I looked down I seen Trudy and almost went to my knees when I knew she was shot and her daughter was leaning over."


Gavegnano and Padelford say Gerald had medical issues and Trudy took care of him.


Padelford says, "She was really tired.  She worked overnights at Walmart and then she'd come here and work in the office all morning until one o'clock and then take care of him."


Gavegnano wonders if an upcoming surgery for Gerald moved up to yesterday set him off.  She says, "Yesterday they said, 'You're going in now.'  And I think that was the tip of the iceberg."  She says, "It's just so sad what he did."


Neighbors say they never saw signs of domestic violence with the couple.


They say Trudy's daughter was wounded in the arm.  Police say it was a minor injury. 


The officer involved in the shooting is a 15-year veteran of the force.

(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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