David Schladetzky was a Minnesota man who shot and killed his ex-wife and their two sons before fatally shooting himself inside a Minneapolis home on Sunday, December 1, police say. Kjersten Ellingson Schladetzky, 39, and her two sons, William, 11, and Nelson, 8, were killed in the tragic triple murder-suicide, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
The suspect, identified through public records as Dave Schladetzky, 53, was possibly barricaded inside the home, the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement. Officers used a bomb squad robot to determine there was no threat before entering and finding Schladetzky dead.
David Schladetzky filed for divorce in 2018 and proceedings were finalized during the summer of 2019, according to Minnesota state court records. Kjersten posted a photo with her two sons and another family member on her Facebook page Saturday night, just hours before they were killed.
Neighbor Erik Wiltscheck told the Star Tribune he helped Kjersten Schladetzky shovel her driveway Sunday morning, just hours before she and her sons were shot dead by her ex-husband. He said he was walking home from the store when the shooting happened. He said he saw the boys running with coats and backpacks on.
“I thought it was a game…All of a sudden, the gunshots started ringing out,” he told the newspaper. Wiltscheck told the Star Tribune the boys were “full of life” and “just dynamite kids.” Of their mother, he said she was a good mom and “she was number one” for her boys. “If I had the chance, I would have traded my life for those kids. I just can’t make sense of this,” Wiltscheck told the newspaper.
“All indication is that the children were outside playing in the snow when the suspect pulled up and shot them both,” police spokesman John Elder told reporters. “There’s no way someone can come up with a good explanation for this. This is horrific. This is a tragedy.”
Here’s what you need to know about Dave Schladetzky and the murder-suicide:
1. David Schladetzky Texted a Photo of Himself With a Flag at Half-Staff & the Words ‘I Loved Every Minute With You Guys,’ the Star Tribune Reports
Minneapolis Police responded to the home in the 2700 block of Oakland Avenue about 10 a.m. after receiving a 911 call. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, shots were fired outside before police arrived. The Star Tribune reports that an officer at the scene could be heard saying, “Dad showed up, shot the kids and went in the house.”
According to the Star Tribune, a 911 caller told dispatchers Schladetzky texted the caller a photo of himself with a flag flying at half staff and a message reading, “I loved every minute with you guys.” It is not clear to whom Schladetzky sent that text message or when it was sent.
A neighbor told Fox 9 News’ Hannah Flood that a man was heard yelling, followed by a child yelling “daddy,” before gunshots rang out.
Neighbor Erik Wiltscheck told WCCO-TV, “I actually thought it was a game at first, like the dad was kind of fake shooting them. But then all of sudden a loud ‘boom, boom, boom,’ and the kids are trying to get up.”
Wiltscheck added, “I just started tearing up and crying. It’s kids. They’re so full of life, and to see lifeless bodies was just really, you just can’t imagine how horrible that really is.”
Police said the Schladetzky’s two young boys, ages 8 and 11, were found dead in the front yard of the home. A woman was found dead near the door of the house and was identified as his ex-wife. Police treated the scene as a possible hostage situation or a barricade for several hours as a precaution, but did not have any contact with anyone inside the house.
About 3:30 p.m., after a bomb squad robot with a camera revealed that a man was dead inside the house next to a handgun, officers entered the home and found Schladetzky dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. They also identified the body in the entryway as Schladetzky’s ex-wife, Kjersten. No one else was inside the house.
Several neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution during the hourslong situation in the south Minneapolis neighborhood. SWAT officers and hostage negotiators were at the scene.
Police said it was a harrowing scene. The first officers on the scene heard gunfire from inside the house and, “putting themselves in harm’s way, ran into the line of possible gunfire to grab the two children, loaded them into a squad car and drove them to safety. Both children, unfortunately, have died,” Elder told reporters.
Elder told reporters, “It is exceptionally difficult for our officers to see and deal with what they deal with on an, unfortunately, regular basis. For any person, whether you are a police officer, firefighter, first responder, if you are a human being, who has held a child that is in critical injured or had a child die in your arms — that is something that lives with you forever.”
2. Schladetzky & His Ex-Wife’s Divorce Was Finalized in June 2019 & He Was Receiving Spousal Support
Divorce proceedings between David Stout Schladetzky and Kjersten Marie Schladetzky began on November 21, 2018, according to Minnesota court records. David Schladetzky is listed as the petitioner in the divorce records and Kjersten Schladetzky is listed as the respondent.
The divorce was finalized on June 20, 2019, in Hennepin County family court, records show. In August 29, the two sides reached a qualified domestic relations order. Court records do not show contentious proceedings
Police said they had never been called to the Schladetzky’s home before on domestic violence or any other emergency calls. The home is listed in Hennepin County property records as being owned by Kjersten Schladetzky. It was purchased in 2007 by David Schladetzky. Ownership of the home was transferred to his ex-wife when their divorce was finalized, records show.
Anna Pratt was a former co-worker of both David and Kjersten at the Hennepin Theatre Trust, she told the Star Tribune. Pratt said the couple met while they were working there. Kjersten worked at the Hennepin Theatre Trust from 2001 to 2006, according to her Facebook page. The couple married in 2006.
According to the Star Tribune, Kjersten Schladetzky was earning $120,000 a year, while her ex-husband was a stay-at-home dad. He was receiving spousal support from his ex-wife, the newspaper reports. They had joint custody of the boys and David Schladetzky moved into an apartment while working part-time in catering, according to the Star Tribune.
3. Schladetzky Did Not Have a Criminal Record Beyond Traffic Violations & He Was the Vice President of the PTA at His Son’s Elementary School
David Schladetzky did not have a criminal record aside from traffic violations. It is not yet clear when or how he obtained the gun used in the shooting, or if it was legally owned, according to police.
Dave Schladetzky was listed as the vice president of the Parent-Teacher Association at Whittier International Elementary School in Minneapolis, where one of his sons was a student. He was also a former treasurer for the PTA and ran the Scholastic Book Fair, according to the elementary school’s website.
Few details about Schladetzky’s life were immediately available. It is not clear if he was employed, and if he was, where he worked. He was once listed as the catering director at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the former home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team and Minnesota Vikings football team.
4. He Was Originally From Iowa, Where He Worked in Real Estate
David Schladetzky was originally from Iowa. He graduated from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and from the University of Iowa, according to a 1989 article in The Gazette about a classmate who was murdered in his hometown.
While he was living in Iowa, Schladetzky worked in real estate, including in the Des Moines area. Schladetzky was quoted in a 1993 Los Angeles Times article about flooding on the Mississippi River. According to the article, Schaldetzky was set to get married but the wedding was derailed by flooding. It is not clear if he ever married the woman named in the article. If he was previously married, it is not known how long he was with his first wife.
Schladetzky moved from Des Moines to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2003, according to public records. He filed for bankruptcy in Iowa federal court in 2002, records show.
5. Schladetzky’s Ex-Wife, Kjersten Ellingson Schladetzky, Was a Minnesota Native Who Worked in Information Technology
Kjersten Ellingson Schladetzky was a native of Plymouth, Minnesota, according to her Facebook page. Along with being a mother of her two young sons, Schladetzky had a long career in the information technology field, working frequently with museums, zoos and aquariums, according to her Linkedin profile.
Kjersten Schladetzky graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in 2002 with a degree in business management after studying for two years at New York University. She went to Maple Grove Senior High School prior to NYU.
Schladetzky worked for six years as the box office manager and as a project manager at the Science Museum of Minnesota. She then worked as a project coordinator at Suecripts LLC. From 2013 to 2015 she was the program manager at the American Museum of Natural History. From 2015 until her death she worked at Tessitura Network, first as a project manager and consultant and then as director of implementations.
Tessitura Network provides software services to museums, galleries and other institutions. Tessitura CEO Jack Rubin told WCCO-TV, “We are completely shocked, stunned and saddened. Kjersten was a kind and thoughtful colleague, a mentor to many. So well respected and valued across the company. Our thoughts are with her family.”
“Experienced Director Of Implementation with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Business Process, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Interdepartmental Liaison, and Public Speaking. Strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Science focused in Business Management from University of Saint Thomas,” she wrote on Linkedin.
On Twitter, Schladetzky described herself in her bio as a, “Culture, eco, and techno geek.”
A friend from a parenting group wrote on Facebook, “I am sickened and saddened and shocked and mad. Rest In Peace, sweet mama. You and your amazing sons didn’t deserve this.”
A co-worker wrote on Facebook, “We are broken. Kjersten was so full of life, and she loved those boys without limit. It was so great to get parenting tips from her. … My heart is so heavy, and I’m not exactly sure what to do. I think we just feel like the world is out of place today. Please hug your own little ones tight, and keep Kjersten, her boys, her family and friends, and her Tessitura family in your thoughts.”
“My heart, and the hearts of the Minneapolis Police Department, goes out to our victims and our victims’ family members,” Minneapolis Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement. “Any time we lose our community members, and particularly our children, to such violence, it makes us all feel very horrible and today is a very sad day for our city.”