Catholic priest in small Nebraska community dies after being attacked in church

He was assaulted “during an invasion at the rectory,” archdiocese says.

ByThe Associated Press

December 10, 2023, 1:07 PM

OMAHA, Neb. — A Catholic priest in a small Nebraska community died Sunday after being attacked in a church rectory, authorities said.

The Rev. Stephen Gutgsell was assaulted “during an invasion at the rectory” of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the Archdiocese of Omaha said in a Sunday statement.

Gutgsell was taken to an Omaha hospital where he died from his injuries, church officials said. Fort Calhoun, with a population of about 1,000 people, is roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Omaha.

Police received a 911 call of an attempted break-in at the church just after 5 a.m. When officers arrived, they found Gutgsell injured and an alleged attacker inside. Authorities took the suspect into custody, Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson said in a statement.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and the name of the suspect or manner of death will not be released,” Robinson said.

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