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Shooter on the loose in Iowa City

The University of Iowa in Iowa City has put out the following text message for students and faculty on campus:

An active shooter is reported to be in the Iowa City Area. He is a white male in his mid 40s driving a 1998 Tan Toyota Sienna Minivan, Iowa License plate 501-BLO. If you see it call 911 from a safe location to report shooter sighting…

KGAN, a CBS affiliate in Iowa City, www.kgan.com.shtml” target=”_blank”>has relayed a report from KCCI Television in Des Moines, IA, that the man being sought is named Steve Sueppel.

Sueppel, age 42, lived with his 41-year-old wife Sheryl and their children at 629 Barrington Road in Iowa City. According to the Des Moines Register, police were called to the Sueppel residence before 7 a.m. this morning. The Cedar Rapids Gazette has reported that an adult woman — most likely Sheryl Sueppel — and 4 children were found dead inside the home.

At one time Sueppel was vice-president and controller of the Hills Bank & Trust. Authorities say Sueppel was accused of moving money around for his own use. The Des Moines Register published the following about Sueppel’s legal troubles:

Police have not confirmed whether the suspect is the same Steven Francis Sueppel indicted Feb. 12 on charges of embezzling and laundering almost $560,000 from Hills Bank & Trust […] Sueppel had pleaded not guilty and a trial was set for April 21…

However the Iowa City Press Citizen published slightly different info about the charges against Sueppel in February:

The court has alleged that during a seven-year period, Sueppel embezzled $599,040 from Hills Bank. He also allegedly laundered a total of $13,500 from Aug. 23, 2007, to Sept. 17, 2007, according to the indictment…

Search warrants related to the money-laundering charges alleged that Sueppel “told bank officials he used most of the $219,000 he took over a three-year period to purchase cocaine.”

Sueppel was slated to go to trial on April 21. A conviction would have brought 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

In an interview with MSNBC, an Iowa City investigator said that Suppel was a potential danger to the community because he wasn’t “in his right mind.”

Several of the Iowa City papers quoted in this entry have also published reports that a van on Interstate 80 matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle crashed and was in flames. The fire is hindering confirmation as to whether Sueppel was inside the vehicle or not.

This entry will be updated and revised.

NOTE 1: I’ve begun a thread at the message board associated with the brand new true crime site, CrimeJunkies.com. Check it out — register your own screen name there and start posting, if you like.

NOTE 2: The only man with the same name found on MySpace so far is a 26-year-old Californian. Please don’t try posting a link to the guy’s page in the comments. It will be deleted. Every time a case like this hits the news, someone mistakenly fingers a guy with an identical name. I won’t let that happen here if I can help it.