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Victim of Rock Rapids shooting dies, charges filed

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa -- Shooting victim Levi David Hofer, 50, of Rock Rapids, died Tuesday after being removed from life support, according to the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.

Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal said a felony charge filed against Laura Jeanette Lowe, 51, of Rock Rapids, Iowa, in connection with the alleged shooting, could change from a class B attempted murder charge to one of homicide, depending on what the county attorney decides. Lowe's bond has been set at $50,000.

"Yesterday, Lowe decided to tell the truth," Bloemendaal stated Tuesday afternoon. "That she fired the shot that struck (Hofer) in the head."

According to information released Sunday night, the sheriff's office responded to a 911 call at approximately 6:15 p.m. Sunday on Tama Street. Upon arrival, authorities found a female with injuries and a male suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. The woman was treated and released, but the male, Hofer, was flown to Sanford Hospital.

Larry Duane Griffin, 60, who lives in the basement of the residence shared by the suspect and victim, was being held in the Lyon County Jail as a material witness.

"You're probably going to see me change and file charges on him. He has to choose his path," Bloemendaal stated. "Are you a defendant or a witness?"

As of Tuesday evening, Griffin was charged with accessory after the fact of a felony, which is an aggravated misdemeanor. Griffin's bond has been set at $3,000.

The sheriff said they initially had several different stories from Lowe and Griffin after arriving at the scene and separating the two.

"We had difficulty getting (them) to remember the important five minutes of the evening," he explained. "They seemed to be very capable of remembering everything else, but not the tiny little window of time when shots were fired."

Lowe and Griffin both stated at first that Hofer self-inflicted the gunshot wound to the head, Bloemendaal said.

"When we see the entrance wound on the top, back and low to the side of the head, and given the fact that this is a .22 rifle, that is a phenomenal feat for this man to pull off," Bloemendaal added. "It is not physically impossible, but if you are going to kill yourself, especially in front of two people, why would you choose to do these stretching exercises?"

The sheriff said he would not go into a possible motive, but did say that both witnesses claimed there were heated arguments going on in the house at the time of the shooting and a lot of drinking had gone on.

An Iowa crime scene lab was called in to process the evidence from the house on Tama Street.