Investigation begins in Lockridge shooting
LOCKRIDGE – Law enforcement officials are in the process of interviewing witnesses with information pertaining to the death of David L. Bittner, 46, who died Wednesday night.
Bittner, of rural Mount Pleasant, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen Wednesday. He was shot at 105 W. Main St. in Lockridge.
A person at the residence made the 911 call that alerted authorities to Bittner’s gunshot wound. A Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene at approximately 11:15 p.m. An ambulance transported Bittner to the Jefferson County Health Center, where he was pronounced dead later that night.
Bittner’s body was transported to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny Thursday for an autopsy.
Jefferson County Attorney Tim Dille said today law enforcement officials believe the residence in Lockridge where Bittner was found was not his home but rather the home of some of his relatives. He said persons were at the residence at the time of the shooting, and law enforcement is interviewing those people. He said law enforcement is also questioning people who weren’t at the home but who may have knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Bittner’s death.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation found weapons at the residence in Lockridge. Dille said authorities are waiting to recover the projectile in Bittner’s body from the autopsy, and when they do they will have a better idea about whether the projectile came from one of the recovered weapons. Dille said he believes the projectile in Bittner’s body was almost certainly a bullet and he believes there was just one of them.
“We’re still trying to determine who owns the weapons and how they came to be there,” Dille said.
Dille said his office treats all deaths seriously and explores every angle to find out what happened. He said he was unaware of any evidence that would suggest Bittner’s death was the result of a suicide or an accident, although the investigation is ongoing. The county attorney’s office has not filed charges against anyone in this matter.
Dille expects to reveal more information through a press release next week after local law enforcement and the DCI have had a chance to investigate the case further. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol responded to the shooting Wednesday but are not involved in the investigation. Dille explained a shooting requires additional backup because the deputies don’t know the extent of the problem before they arrive, which is why the Henry County Sheriff’s Office was requested at the scene.
Bittner’s obituary appears on page 8 in today’s Ledger.