MVE officers play vital role in apprehending murderer

GunIt’s something that isn’t supposed to happen in small-town Iowa. On Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2019, a gunman shot and killed a bank employee, 43-year old Jessica Weishaar of Algona, in the rural northern Iowa community of Lu Verne.

The small town of 260 people has no police force of its own, so agencies from around the area were called to action, including two Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers who played a key role in quickly apprehending the suspect.

Motor Vehicle Officer Ryan Glade was patrolling in Wright County in conjunction with an effort to reduce crashes in that area. Glade was just finishing a commercial motor vehicle speeding stop when he was alerted by the online law enforcement system in his vehicle to the situation in Lu Verne and details of the suspect’s black vehicle with no front license plate.


“I was on U.S. 69 south of Highway 3,” said Glade. “I had an idea from the radio calls of what I was looking for when a black vehicle with no front license plates went by me doing 83 in a 55-mph zone. The blue and white out-of-state plate on the back matched the description from the communications that had been put out from the Lu Verne incident. I turned around and followed the vehicle but didn’t stop it right away.”

He continued, “Usually I would have turned my lights on right away, but something told me to hold back a little and watch. I could see the suspect was bouncing around in the vehicle, but I couldn’t tell why.”

Glade called in his situation to the state’s law enforcement radio system and other agencies began to send cars his way. Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer Kam Shugar was patrolling in nearby Hamilton County and came to assist Glade. He said, “I was just finishing up a commercial inspection and started rolling north on U.S. 69. My intention was to support Ryan and find a good spot to stop this vehicle.”

While following the suspect’s vehicle, Glade’s mind went to the criminal acts that had occurred in Lu Verne. He said, “My thought was, if he’s already shot someone today, he’s not going to hesitate to do it again and I need to hold off and wait for back up.”

The suspect’s vehicle turned onto a county road and headed for Interstate 35. Glade said, “By doing that, he drove right into a hornet’s nest of law enforcement including Officer Shugar.”

As other law enforcement agency vehicles fanned out, Glade initiated the stop on I-35. “When I turned on my lights, he pulled over immediately,” Glade said. “We had just finished felony stop training, so the protocol for this stop was very fresh for Kam and me.”

Officers Shugar and Glade
Motor Vehicle Officers Shugar and Glade

At the stop, a state trooper directed the suspect, who cooperated. Glade handcuffed the suspect and Shugar assisted in the arrest. A Hamilton County deputy transported the suspect because his vehicle was the only one in the area of the arrest with a cage securing the back seat.

Shugar said, “We were the first on the scene in this instance and our training and preparation paid off. The collaboration with other law enforcement worked just the way it was supposed to.”

The suspect in the case pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced to life without parole, saving everyone the pain of reliving the incident in court. But Glade and Shugar said it’s always difficult when you are involved in a situation where a life is taken in such a senseless way. Glade said, “After the arrest, I was able to meet the victim’s family, which helped us process everything that had happened. We’re very proud of the service we were able to provide in getting a dangerous criminal off the streets.”

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