Autopsy: Shotgun Blast To Head Killed Keokuk County Deputy

By Jillian Petrus and Gregg Hennigan, Reporters

SIGOURNEY, Iowa - Keokuk County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Stein died of a shotgun wound to the head, the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday.

The autopsy was completed Tuesday morning, said Dr. Dennis Klein, deputy state medical examiner. No other information was available.

Law enforcement authorities say Stein, 38, was shot and killed Monday by 53-year-old Jeff Krier of rural Sigourney. Krier was shot and killed after a three-hour standoff by members of the Iowa State Patrol Tactical Unit.

Krier's autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, Klein said. Authorities have not said exactly how Krier died.

Meanwhile, Stein's father, Lonnie Stein, described his son as a "very well liked" officer who "helped a lot of people."

Stein told KCRG-TV9 Tuesday his son was a great father to his daughter, Shelby, who is in elementary school.

Stein said his son focused his life around helping care for people in the community. He said he last saw his son about seven weeks ago and is shocked, as so many are, by Eric's death.

"He was very well liked. He was an EMT for several years before he became a deputy," Lonnie Stein said. "And (Eric) went around and helped a lot of people in the area."

Stein said he doesn't know a lot of details about the shooting. He was in Texas on Monday and on Tuesday started the drive home to What Cheer with several other family members.

Investigators say the incident started around noon Monday when Stein, Sheriff Jeff Shipley and Deputy Casey Hinnah went to check on a house on 249th Street, southwest of Sigourney. They were following up on an unspecified incident from the night before.

The Iowa State Patrol said when deputies arrived Krier opened fire, killing Stein. Krier was killed three hours later after emerging from the home with weapons, authorities said. Shipley and Hinnah were not injured.

Krier did not have a permit to carry a weapon, said Jessica Lown, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. A permit is not required to own a shotgun or rifle, however.

Lown said the Keokuk County Sheriff's Office includes the sheriff, four full-time deputies and three reserve deputies. A typical weekday daytime shift has one or two officers, she said. She did not know why three went to Krier's house Monday.

Lown said the investigation, being led by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, will try to determine a lot of the unanswered questions, like where Krier's weapons came from, how many he had and who fired shots. Investigators still have a lot of interviews to conduct, and no other information was expected to be released Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the road near Krier's home was still blocked off by authorities and investigators were visible at the scene.

Arlen Ciechanowski, director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, said he wouldn't want to comment on a situation that is still being investigated and that he does not have direct knowledge of. But in general law enforcement personnel across the state receive standard training, although specific policies are dictated by individual departments.

They try to prepare officers for every possible situation, but that's impossible to do, he said. Also, he said, officers can do everything right and still get hurt.

"You can't protect yourself against everything all of the time," Ciechanowski said.

Stein's funeral will be held at Harden Funeral Chapel in What Cheer. All other details, including the time and date, are pending. Representatives from the funeral home hope to meet with Stein's family, most likely Wednesday morning.

Michael Berg of Harper, chairman of the Keokuk County Board of Supervisors, said the shooting has been tough on the community.

"It's pretty sad," Berg said. "Everybody knew him and nobody had anything bad to say about him."

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