MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A woman told police before she died that she had been shot by her brother-in-law, a newly retired Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to new court documents.
Andy Steele, a former Dane County Sheriff’s deputy, was arrested after the shooting at his home Friday that left his wife, Ashlee Steele, and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, dead. He hasn’t been charged yet, but according to investigators, Tollefsbol implicated him as her assailant twice before she died at the University of Wisconsin hospital in Madison.
Much about the attack, including what precipitated it, remains unclear. Before her death, Ashlee Steele was credited with spearheading a drive to raise thousands of dollars toward Andy Steele’s medical care and other expenses. But a police affidavit released Tuesday offered new details about the immediate aftermath of the shootings.
According to the affidavit, Tollefsbol, 38, of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, called 911 at around 1 p.m. Friday from her sister’s home in Fitchburg, a Madison suburb of about 26,000 residents. She said her brother-in-law had shot her in the back and she thought he must have shot himself because she heard two shots.
Officers found her in the basement, where she again said her brother-in-law had shot her. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Members of a sheriff’s department SWAT team found 39-year-old Ashlee Steele dead in the home. She had been shot in the head. They found Andrew Steele in a laundry room and a 9 mm pistol on the counter.
The affidavit said two rounds had been fired in the house. Police said Andrew Steele was treated at a hospital for injuries consistent with a suicide attempt.
Dan DuPuis of Hudson, an uncle of the two slain sisters, said Tuesday the Dane County district attorney authorized him to say that Andy Steele is out of the hospital and now in jail.
Steele makes his first court appearance Friday via closed circuit TV, DuPuis said. The district attorney’s office did not comment Tuesday but said more information would be released Wednesday.
“Total shock, total shock. No indication whatsoever,” DuPuis said of the killings.
DuPuis said Andy Steele was struggling with his recent diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease. But he called the ex-deputy “an absolutely amazing, loving husband. Never any indication of a problem.”
“He loved children, he loved his family,” DuPuis said.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney has said that Andy Steele, a 15-year deputy, resigned in June after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS attacks nerve cells and can lead to paralysis and death. The average life expectancy is two to five years after diagnosis.
His family was trying to raise $75,000 for his medical care and other expenses. Ashlee Steele’s Facebook page contains several videos of her husband’s law enforcement colleagues taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in his honor.
According to the sisters’ obituaries, Kacee Tollefsbol was studying to be a nurse and held a degree in English from the University of St. Thomas. A mother of four, she had just married Mark Tollefsbol a month before she died. Ashlee Steele, a mother of two, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught three-year-olds at a church preschool.
Their grandmother died the same day they were killed, the obituaries said.