A Wisconsin man shot and killed his family members, then broke inside of the house of a woman that he had been harassing through texts and shot her in what police speculate to be an imitation of a deadly kidnapping case from last year.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said the suspect, 33-year-old Ritchie German Jr., shot his 66-year-old mother Bridget German; 32-year-old brother Douglas German, and 8-year-old nephew Calvin Harris, who was Douglas’ son, while inside their Lafayette County home on or before Saturday morning, Fox6Now reported.
After the fatal shooting, German then drove about 10 miles (16 kilometers) to Laile Vang’s home in Lake Hallie. The suspect blasted his way inside the house using a shotgun then proceeded to shoot and wound her parents, 51-year-old Teng Vang and 39-year-old Mai Chang Vang, before eventually killing the 24-year-old victim and killing himself while inside their home.
Four people, including three children, were reportedly hiding inside the house during the tragic incident, and all of them were unharmed.
Investigators found German’s car still running outside Vang’s home with contents found inside its trunk that included handcuffs and a loaded handgun clip, which led authorities to speculate that he may have been attempting to imitate the 2018 Jayme Closs’ kidnapping case.
Ritchie German Jr, 34, who killed three of his own family members and a 24-year-old woman before taking his own life may have been trying to imitate abduction of another Wisconsin kidnap victim, Jayme Closs – Police https://t.co/QzO0NjdXxA pic.twitter.com/hk1wv8lvKl
— konniemoments1 (@KonnieMoments1) July 31, 2019
Days before the attack, German reportedly sent Vang unsolicited sexual messages on her phone, but the female victim apparently did not know the man. She said in her reply: “Who is this? I don’t know you.”
Authorities then said that there is no evidence that Vang and German had ever met. They are now trying finding out how the suspect got the woman’s cellphone number, but they believe that he may have found it on the internet, the report noted.
While authorities have speculated German could be imitating a crime last year, Kowalczyk said they are still unclear regarding the reason behind the act.
“What was the motive? Why did this happen? I don’t have the answer,” the Chippewa County Sheriff said.
The suspect was said to be convicted in 2006 for disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to a year of probation when he pointed a gun in the direction of his brother.
“We don’t have a lot of history with him,” Kowalczyk said.
Kowalczyk has said that on Saturday morning, German called the grocery store where his mother worked and said she was sick and in the hospital. Then a boy from the neighborhood knocked on their house’s door to ask if Calvin was home, but the man told him his nephew was shopping with his grandmother.
German, who was described as an often unemployed loner who occasionally lived at their home in Lafayette, had struggled with mental illness, according to his father Ritchie German Sr., who was divorced from the mother, Star Tribune reported.
German Sr. then added that his son lived with him from 2005 to 2014 and that he only worked for a year during that span at a Menards warehouse.
Both Vang’s parents suffered defensive wounds from the attack and they each needed to have an arm amputated. However, they are expected to recover from the tragedy.
Featured image (left) via Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office, (right) via GoFundMe/@Leni Sujin