The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 19, 2013

Sheriff: Suspect had hostility toward slain doctor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A man accused of killing a prominent Minnesota doctor before he was shot by police in the doctor's front yard appears to have been angry over the way the physician handled his mother's medical treatment, authorities said Monday.

Few other details were released about what led up to the slaying of Dr. Stephen Larson, an obstetrician and gynecologist who was shot multiple times after he answered a knock at the door of his home in the Minneapolis suburb of Orono. Authorities said Larson was home alone Friday night and talking on the phone when he heard the knocking.

"The doctor said he was going to answer the door. He did. The person on the other end of the line ... heard some words, some noises. The doctor never came back to the open phone line," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. The person hung up and called 911. Orono police arrived to find Ted Hoffstrom, 30, in Larson's front yard, wielding a semi-automatic handgun.

"After diligent attempts to negotiate with Mr. Hoffstrom, shots were fired," Stanek said. "Mr. Hoffstrom died at the scene."

Authorities went into the house and found Larson dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Stanek said Hoffstrom is the only suspect in Larson's death, and the gun Hoffstrom had with him was the murder weapon.

"We know who committed this murder, yet many unanswered questions remain," Stanek said.

Stanek said that during their preliminary investigation, authorities learned Larson had provided medical care to Hoffstrom's mother at one time, and that Hoffstrom had recently expressed hostility about the doctor. He did not elaborate on the nature of the hostility, citing medical privacy rules as well as the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting of Hoffstrom.

Orono Deputy Police Chief Chris Fischer said the four officers involved in Hoffstrom's death, including the police chief, are on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, per department policy.

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