Public Safety

Former Cedar Rapids man kills ex-wife, sons in Minneapolis

David Schladetzky was 1985 senior class president at Washington High

Neighbor Eric Stiver puts flowers and stuffed animals on the porch of the Minneapolis home where authorities say David Schladetzky, a former Cedar Rapids resident, on Sunday shot and killed his ex-wife, Kjersten Schladetzky, and their sons, William, 11, and Nelson, 8. David Schladetzky was the 1985 senior class president at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Neighbor Eric Stiver puts flowers and stuffed animals on the porch of the Minneapolis home where authorities say David Schladetzky, a former Cedar Rapids resident, on Sunday shot and killed his ex-wife, Kjersten Schladetzky, and their sons, William, 11, and Nelson, 8. David Schladetzky was the 1985 senior class president at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune)
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A Minnesota man who shot and killed his ex-wife and his two young sons over the weekend in Minneapolis was the 1985 senior class president at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids.

Former Washington Principal Ralph Plagman said he clearly remembers David Schladetzky as a promising student who had a big personality and a natural talent for leadership.

The former principal said he does not remember Schladetzky ever having any disciplinary issues at the school.

“I remember that he was very well-known, and he had a big personality — he was friendly and very outgoing — but, of course, you have to have a big personality to be elected class president of such a large class,” Plagman said.

Schladetzky, now 53, was one of 422 students to graduate from Washington High School in 1985. Flipping through a yearbook from that year, Plagman said Schladetzky was voted the student with the “most school spirit.”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Plagman said. “He was very involved in the school.”

The former principal said he heard about the slayings when a former teacher, who also knew Schladetzky, called and told him what had happened.

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“It was shocking,” he said. “I just can’t fathom that the student I knew would end up doing something like that. It just doesn’t at all sync with the boy I knew. I can’t imagine what could have happened in his life that would drive him to do something like that.”

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, authorities believe Schladetzky — who was recently divorced — was picking up his 8- and 11-year-old sons from his ex-wife on Sunday when the murders occurred. After shooting the boys in the front yard of the family’s south Minneapolis home, Schladetzky then went into the home where he shot his ex-wife — 39-year-old Kjersten Schladetzky — and then turned the gun on himself.

After examining the couple’s divorce records, the Star Tribune reported Schladetzky and his ex-wife were married in 2006. Their sons, William and Nelson, were born in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

The divorce file revealed Kjersten Schladetzky was the family’s primary financial provider, working as director of consulting for the past five years for the Tessitura Network, a Dallas-based nonprofit that helps arts and culture venues with their internet technology needs, the newspaper reported.

David Schladetzky, an Iowa native who was married and divorced once before, was a stay-at-home dad and PTA volunteer who received spousal and child support from Kjersten Schladetzky, who was earning an annual salary of $120,000, divorce records showed.

The couple agreed to joint custody of the children and divvied up their property, assets and debts, He moved into a Loring Park apartment, working part-time in catering.

Minneapolis police officers and SWAT teams responded to the blue and white two-story home around 10 a.m. Sunday.

In what Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called an act of heroism, officers ran into the open and scooped up the brothers, not knowing if they were dead or injured.

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William David Schladetzky, 11, died minutes later inside a police cruiser, authorities said. His brother, Nelson Sidney Schladetzky, 8, was rushed to an area hospital with grave injuries. He was pronounced dead at 10:39 a.m. in the hospital emergency room.

Their mother’s body could be seen in the doorway, according to emergency dispatch audio. Her time of death was put at 10:06 a.m., hours before authorities entered the home.

A police robot discovered David Schladetzky’s body around 2:30 p.m. inside the home, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Star Tribune reported.

Investigators found an assortment of evidence inside and outside the house, including spent shell casings, live cartridges, a permit to purchase a gun and a receipt, which indicated Schladetzky may have recently purchased a firearm, the newspaper reported.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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