Catholic Priest Fatally Stabbed in Church Rectory, Suspect Arrested

In a shocking incident, a Catholic priest from a small town in Nebraska was brutally stabbed to death in the early hours of Sunday. The incident occurred when an intruder broke into the church’s rectory, as confirmed by law enforcement and church authorities. The victim, Father Stephen Gutgsell, was discovered by sheriff deputies with multiple stab wounds around 5 a.m. The alleged assailant, Kierre Williams, was found inside St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, where the crime took place.

Father Gutgsell was immediately rushed to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries. Williams, a 43-year-old resident of Sioux City, Iowa, was apprehended at the scene. He was subsequently charged with homicide and the use of a weapon to commit a felony, according to the sheriff’s office.

The initial call to law enforcement was regarding an attempted break-in at the church, located in Fort Calhoun, a small city of approximately 1,000 residents situated 20 miles north of Omaha. The Archdiocese of Omaha confirmed in a statement that Father Gutgsell was assaulted during this intrusion at the rectory.

The Archdiocese also requested prayers for the late Father Gutgsell, his family, and the St. John the Baptist parish community during this tragic time. The usual 8:30 a.m. Mass at St. John the Baptist was canceled following the incident. Parishioner Mike Fitzgerald remembered Father Gutgsell, who served the church for 11 years, as a “very holy man” who contributed significantly to the community.

Interestingly, Father Gutgsell had a brush with the law over a decade ago when he pleaded guilty to theft by deception in 2007. He was convicted for embezzling $127,000 from a local church and was sentenced to probation and restitution. Despite this, he was reassigned to another church after church leaders believed he had learned his lesson and sought forgiveness.

Sheriff Mike Robinson stated that his office did not believe Father Gutgsell’s death was related to his past criminal activities. Further information regarding the case will be released by the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.