Linn County Metro

Complaint: Confrontation over stolen purse led to fatal Cedar Rapids shooting

Authorities say Heidi Stephens was shot in back of the neck with stolen gun

Heidi Stephens. (photo contributed by Stephens’ brother, Trent Hoppe)
Heidi Stephens. (photo contributed by Stephens’ brother, Trent Hoppe)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Heidi Stephens confronted Zackary Ildefonso about a stolen purse before he shot her, authorities said Monday.

According to a Linn County Attorney’s Office criminal complaint, Stephens and another man, Andrew Shank, confronted Ildefonso at 1515 Second Ave. SE around 6:21 p.m. Nov. 20. Authorities said the confrontation was over allegations that Ildefonso, 24, had stolen Stephens’ purse the night before.

The criminal complaint states Ildefonso pulled a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver during the confrontation and shot at Stephens and Shank.

“The defendant admitted he used the weapon to shoot at both Stephens and Shank, but claimed he fired because he thought Shank might have a knife in his possession,” the complaint states.

Authorities said one shot hit Stephens, 33, in the back of her neck. Ildefonso fled the scene after the shooting, but police received a tip about his whereabouts, leading to his arrest on Nov. 24. Police said when Ildefonso was apprehended, he was in possession of the revolver used in the shooting. Authorities said the revolver was stolen and Ildefonso admitted to taking it.

Medical personnel who responded to the shooting provided aid to Stephens, but her brother said she was declared brain dead Wednesday morning. She was kept on life support until Friday so that she could donate her organs.

Ildefonso was arrested on a third-degree burglary charge in Benton County in October 2013 and served time in prison. He was released in July 2017. Because of his felony conviction, he is barred from possessing firearms.


Ildefonso has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, trafficking stolen weapons and possession of a firearm by a felon in the Nov. 20 shooting. He remains in custody on a $1 million bail.

First-degree murder is a felony punishable by an automatic life sentence.

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