An argument over forgotten anniversaries ended with a double killing in the southern Minnesota city of St. James on Saturday.
The women shot dead have been identified as Joyce Engelbrecht, 67, and her daughter Rachel Linder, 43, and the man charged with their killings is husband and stepfather Scott Engelbrecht.
The 59 year old is booked into Watonwan County Jail on 2 counts of murder and one of assault.
He allegedly killed the pair with a .22 caliber rifle on the 1100 block of 1st Avenue South, with Joyce Engelbrecht shot in the head at their home, dying later in hospital, and Linder found dead a few doors down.
A criminal complaint reveals that just before the shooting, the Engelbrechts were arguing because Scott had forgotten their wedding anniversary this year "and for the past several years in a row."
As they were arguing, Linder was eating dinner with her 20-year-old son (who we are referring to as "DM"), who went downstairs to watch TV shortly after.
He then heard a thud upstairs, as if someone had fallen, followed by shouting from Linder, who said: "You shot her, you bastard!" This was referring to DM's mother, who had been shot in the head in the northwest corner of the house.
DM ran upstairs with a stun gun to find Scott Engelbrecht wielding the rifle. He told his mother, Linder, to run and not stop, and tried to use the stun gun on Engelbrecht,.
But he wasn't successful, so ran to the basement, locked himself in the bathroom and called 911, eventually coming upstairs to find police yelling at Scott Engelbrecht.
It was a short time later that Linder was found two houses away, at 1120 1st Ave. S., lying dead on the porch. She had been shot three times, once in the back, once in the arm and once in the head.
The head wound suggested she had been shot at close range.
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Police arrived to find Engelbrecht walking through the backyard carrying a .22 caliber rifle.
He leaned the gun against the tree when told by police to drop it, and then "made a statement to the effect of 'I shot her' or 'I did it.'"
The St. James Police Department has issued a public appeal for information relating to the relationship between Scott Engelbrecht and his wife and stepdaughter.
They also want to know if anyone saw or heard anything out of the ordinary as they drove or walked by 1120, 1122 or 1124 1st Avenue South between 5:15 p.m. and 5:40 p.m.
Anyone with information can call Chief Rick Eisfeld on 507-375-322 or by emailing Rick.Eisfeld@ci.stjames.mn.us.
The city of St. James is in Watonwan County, south-central Minnesota, about 40 miles southwest of Mankato. It has a population of around 4,600.