Conflicting reports: Questions linger about motive in Orono shooting


In less than 24 hours since authorities shed a sliver of light on what led up to the shooting death of a prominent Twin Cities doctor, media outlets have conflicting reports on what the motive was.

On Friday night, police received a 911 call to check the welfare of Dr. Stephen Larson at his Orono home. When officers arrived, they found 30-year-old Ted Hoffstrom, a young attorney, on the front lawn armed with a semi-automatic handgun. Authorities said after "diligent attempts to negotiate” with Hoffstrom, he was shot dead by police.

Larson, 74, was found dead inside the house from multiple gunshot wounds.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, whose office is leading the investigation, offered two pieces of critical information at a Monday news conference regarding the relationship between Larson and Hoffstrom.

Stanek said Larson had provided professional medical care to Hoffstrom's mother at one point in time and that Hoffstrom had "recently expressed hostility to his family members regarding Dr. Larson."

Stanek said Hoffstrom is the only suspect in Larson's killing, but would not provide additional details pending the active investigation.

Various reports go a step further.

The Star Tribune says Hoffstrom was upset about how Larson had treated his mother.

Two days ago, KSTP reported that Larson assisted in Hoffstrom's delivery 30 years ago, according to a source.

FOX 9 said on Monday that Larson was the OBGYN for Hoffstrom's mother in 1983 and that the catalyst for the shooting may have been frustration over a "life-altering birth defect" involving his hands.

Sources also told WCCO that Larson delivered Hoffstrom. Hoffstrom, who was born prematurely, allegedly blamed mental and physical ailments he suffered on the delivery, WCCO said.

A former schoolmate from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis where Hoffstrom attended told the television station that Hoffstrom had a noticeable facial deformity.

However, the Pioneer Press partially disputes those claims, saying that Larson was not the doctor listed on Hoffstrom's birth certificate and, as City Pages pointed out, the Star Tribune removed the detail about possible birth defects from their online story.

Hoffstrom was a 2009 graduate of the University of St. Thomas law school and recently passed the state bar exam. He had no criminal background.

Larson had been delivering babies since the 1960s and founded OBGYN Specialists in Edina and Burnsville 33 years ago. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The Star Tribune said there were two blips during Larson's medical career in 1990 and 1996, according to state records. In both cases, Larson was fined $1,000 and no corrective action was required.

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