Public Safety

After unexplained Highway 218 shooting, father cherishes memories of departed daughter

Mass held over the weekend for former UNI softball player

Micalla Rettinger was killed early April 28 when a pullet pierced her driver’s side window as she drove over this bridge on Highway 218 crossing the Cedar River in Waterloo. Police have asked the public for tips about who may have been hunting or shooting so early in the morning. (Brandon Pollock/Waterloo Courier)
Micalla Rettinger was killed early April 28 when a pullet pierced her driver’s side window as she drove over this bridge on Highway 218 crossing the Cedar River in Waterloo. Police have asked the public for tips about who may have been hunting or shooting so early in the morning. (Brandon Pollock/Waterloo Courier)
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WATERLOO — King, the beloved husky of Micalla Rettinger and Adam Kimball, went everywhere with his human parents.

And he was there in the back seat of the Jeep during Rettinger’s final moments in the early hours of April 28 when a bullet entered the driver’s window on Highway 218 in Waterloo, killing Rettinger and injuring Kimball.

So perhaps it was no surprise King also was there when Rettinger was memorialized Friday in Lenexa, Kan.

“The dog was at the funeral Mass. It behaved itself,” said Steve Rettinger, Micalla’s father, in a weekend interview with the Courier. “And the dog went to the cemetery for the graveside and Catholic rites.”

And, unprompted, King offered his own farewell.

“When we all had a chance to kneel down and say goodbye to her, the dog went up with Adam and licked the marble” around the urn, Rettinger said.

Waterloo police are investigation the shooting, and have asked the public for tips about anyone out hunting or shooting in the area early April 28.

Rettinger, who lives in Lenexa, said he was close with Kimball and believed he and Micalla someday would get married though he said they were not engaged.

He spoke with Kimball last Tuesday for the first time since Micalla Rettinger’s death, the first night Kimball was able to speak. The bullet had lodged in his tongue.

Rettinger said Kimball sat next to him during the funeral. “He had some nice things to say — a good message, I thought,” he said.

Rettinger said about 250 people came to the memorial Friday, including several former University of Northern Iowa softball players who were on the team with her between 2013 and 2016.

“Coaches and players that she played with that are still on the team, they all came to the funeral or visitation,” Rettinger said. “All of her old teammates, they were there as well. Even one girl who transferred to Wichita State drove up from Wichita — she was a freshman when Micalla was a senior.”

A lot of Rettinger’s own memories of his daughter come from watching her play softball over the years. A former all-state baseball player, Rettinger got Micalla started in the sport when she was 4 and she took to it quickly.

“I put her in the situation and let her go,” he said. “It was quite gratifying.”

Now, he said he’ll cherish seemingly mundane times that revolved around athletics.

“The times I spent alone with her driving to and from softball fields and basketball courts — those times I hold very precious now,” he said.

Micalla had graduated from UNI with a degree in biology in preparation for dental school at the University of Iowa, which she’d been applying to for the three years since she graduated, Rettinger said.

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The UNI Foundation established a memorial fund for Micalla Rettinger at uni-foundation.org/micalla, where donations can be made.

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