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.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.