The Rev. Stephen Gutgsell, a Catholic priest working for a parish in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, called 911 early Sunday to report an attempted break-in at his church about 10 miles north of Omaha. He was still alive when the first responding deputy arrived.

The deputy entered the church rectory’s foyer to hear him calling for help as the suspect struggled with him on the floor, according to court documents.

Authorities arrested 43-year-old Kierre Williams, a former barber with a long criminal record, at the scene.

NEBRASKA PRIEST STABBED TO DEATH IN CHURCH RECTORY

The first deputy to arrive entered with his gun drawn and announced his presence, according to the incident report. He heard someone yell, “In here,” then indiscernible shouting.

I then hear the voice yell, ‘Help me!’ I responded by asking who else was in the house, and the voice stated, ‘An intruder.’

— First Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy to arrive

“Help me!” the victim yelled. As the deputy moved deeper into the building, he asked who else was inside.

“An intruder.”

RURAL NEBRASKA TOWN BATTLES SEVERE STAFF SHORTAGE, FORCING RESIDENTS TO WAIT AN HOUR OR MORE FOR AN AMBULANCE

Father Stephen Gutgsell

According to a police affidavit, the deputy found Williams in the kitchen on top of the victim, who was “bleeding profusely” around 5:10 a.m. Sunday.

Gutgsell was on his back, according to the affidavit, with Williams on top of him in a “perpendicular fashion,” leaning his own back on the victim’s chest.

The deputy ordered Williams to stick his hands up, according to the affidavit, and he told Gutgsell to crawl away. Additional responding deputies began treating the victim, who was taken to an Omaha hospital. However, by 8:20 a.m., he had succumbed to his injuries. His cause of death was later ruled internal bleeding from stab wounds, authorities said.

Kierre L. Williams in orange jail smock for mugshot

Although Williams cooperated with law enforcement at the scene, about two hours into his interrogation, he allegedly kicked a table, stood up and approached the deputy “in an aggressive and hurried manner.”

The deputy took him to the ground and held him there until corrections officers arrived with a restraint chair and strapped him in.

Williams, an Iowa felon with multiple open warrants out of multiple states, was arraigned Thursday on charges that included first-degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, burglary and possession of a deadly weapon by a felon.

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His criminal record spans a wide swath of the country, with charges including DUI, theft, assault, drugs and disorderly conduct in states including Texas, North Dakota, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, public records show.

Gutgsell had been stabbed in the face and back, authorities said at a news briefing after Williams’ arraignment Thursday, which was livestreamed by WOWT-TV. He also suffered defensive wounds.

The suspect and the victim had no known connection, Washington County Attorney Scott VanderSchaaf told reporters.

Williams is being held without bond. The judge scheduled his next hearing for Jan. 3.



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