Peter J. "Pete" Kriebs 1872-1932
Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 7/4/2011 at 17:50:46
Jealousy Ends in Death – Peter Kriebs, Martin county farmer, was dead Friday [June 17, 1932] and Mrs. Ray Gustafson, thirty, a neighbor, was in a hospital at Estherville, Iowa, as the result of an attempted murder and suicide. Kriebs, sixty-three, shot the woman in the chest at her farm home near the Iowa line late Friday and then sent a bullet into his own head. Kriebs is said to have been jealous. He is survived by his widow and two step-sons. Mrs. Gustafson, separated from her husband, has two children. (Evening Tribune, Albert Lea, MN, June 20, 1932)
Peter Kriebs Shoots Woman Then Turns Gun on Himself
The village of Huntington came in for its share of excitement and publicity last Thursday afternoon when Peter Kriebs, 61, shot and wounded Mrs. Ray Gustafson and then ran into a corn field, placed the revolver to his head just above the ear and fired a shot into his brain that caused his death a few hours later.
There seems to be a long and conflicting story connected with the case. For over two years and probably nearly three years there has been rumblings about Huntington of an affection which had grown up between Kriebs and Mrs. Gustafson who is only 33 years of age.
There are reports that Mrs. Gustafson, who is much younger, had at times followed Kriebs into the fields and where there were threshing crews and brought him lunches. They seemed to have grown fond of each other. The affair does not seem to have been all one-sided. The younger woman seemed to have captivated the older man.
A short time ago Mr. Gustafson, who had grown tired of the existing conditions, was about to apply for a divorce. He did not do so and had not applied at the time of the tragedy. The two children were in the custody of Mrs. Gustafson at the time of the shooting.
Not long ago Mrs. Gustafson and the children moved into Huntington, three doors north of the Wm. Bombarger home. In the Bombarger home is Mr. Bombarger and his aged mother. Mrs. Gustafson and Mr. Bombarger became friends. Mrs. Gustafson became sick and was cared for by the elderly Mrs. Bombarger. During the time Mrs. Gustafson was ill Mr. Bombarger took care of the chickens for Mrs. Gustafson. He had been doing so for days. He took sick and for the first time Mrs. Gustafson went to feed the chickens. It was just at this time Kriebs, who apparently became jealous of Mrs. Gustafson staying at the Bombarger home appeared on the scene.
The story is that as Mrs. Gustafson approached the chicken coop Kriebs grabbed her and placed his hand over her mouth. She broke away and started back to the Bombarger home. As she stepped away from Kriebs he fired a shot into her back near the right side. From the appearances of the revolver he had fired five shots from its chambers. However, only one seemed to have hit Mrs. Gustafson. Mrs. Gustafson walked back to the Bombarger home before she fell to the ground.
Kriebs crawled through the barb wire fence at the back of the chicken coop and ran out into the field, and fired the remaining bullet into his brain.
The authorities were called at once. Sheriff Gordon and Deputy Brown went at once to Huntington. They borrowed a gun there and commenced a hunt for Kriebs. They were told he entered a barn. As Brown passed the barn he noticed Kriebs lying in the corn field and the hunt was over.
Coroner Sternborg was called and he at once took Mrs. Gustafson to the Coleman hospital. They left Kriebs lying on the ground, thinking he was dead. The gun, an old rusty 32, lay beside him. Dr. Morton, who was also summoned, found Kriebs was still alive and he was also brought to the Coleman hospital where he died a few hours later.
Mrs. Kriebs, it is said, was not surprised at the affair. She told Sheriff Gordon she had hidden the revolver but that he had found it sometime later. She said he had threatened Mrs. Gustafson before and she was in fear of him. More so since she had gone to the Bombarger home. This seemed to have enraged Kriebs.
There are many facts that under the conditions may as well be left untold. Kriebs was laid to rest last Sunday and the woman in the case will probably recover. It’s another case that has been discussed and re-discussed in that neighborhood for years. The facts have been aired and probably exaggerated on to some extent.
At any rate, it’s a bad affair and has cost the life of one and possibly tow and has caused much mental suffering on the part of many and that is enough said. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, June 22, 1932)
Jealous Farmer Shoots Self and Woman
Pete Kriebs of Huntington Dies of Wound Fri.
Mrs. Emmalie Gustafson Will Recover – Carries Bullet Under Heart
Peter Kriebs, 61, Emmet County farmer, died at midnight Thursday at the Coleman hospital, of a self-inflicted wound in his head from a .32 revolver. In the same hospital Mrs. Emmalie Gustafson, 33, estranged wife of Ray Gustafson and mother of two small girls, lies in a critical condition with a bullet lodged below her heart which Kriebs had fired before turning the gun on himself.
The double shooting took place Thursday afternoon at about two-thirty at the place in Huntington where Mrs. Gustafson had lived since her husband left her last April because of undue friendship which existed between the young woman and Kriebs. The farms adjoined and Gustafson sold his livestock and equipment when he was unable even by physical force to stop the attentions the older man was paying his wife.
Mrs. Gustafson had recently grown to fear Kriebs who, according to her statement, had become jealous of Will Bombarger whose house at Huntington is two doors away from the house where she resided. She had been at the Bombarger home during a recent illness and Mr. Bombarger’s mother had cared for her. Mr. Bombarger had tended her chickens but because of his illness Thursday she had gone to her home for the first time in several days. As she went to the barn to get feed Kriebs accosted her. They quarreled, she broke away from his grasp and as she turned to run toward her house, Kriebs fired two shots into her body from the back. One of these punctured her lung. An X-ray showed that it is located near her heart. Kriebs was later found by Emmet county officers in a corn field near the farm with a bullet in his head.
Mrs. Gustafson’s screams as she struggled with the insanely jealous man were heard by Mr. Bombarger. He jumped from his bed and hastened onto the front porch of his home in time to see Kriebs fire the shots. Mrs. Gustafson ran through her own front gate and into the Bombarger yard. Bombarger and his mother helped her into the house then in to the basement for they feared that Kriebs might follow her for further shooting or violence. The sheriff and doctor were summoned from Estherville. In the mean while Kriebs had disappeared, Dr. Morton was the first to arrive and very shortly Sheriff Merrit Brown came. They started at once to locate Kriebs who was thought to be hiding in the
barn of Mrs. Gustafson’s place. Mr. Gordon, armed with Bombarger’s shotgun, and deputy Brown with a revolver approached the building from opposite directions, but Brown incoming over a slight raise in the ground saw the body prone with the revolver beside it. The two men examined the wounds and sent at once for coroner Fred Sternborg. Kriebs, still alive, but close to death and the wounded woman were brought to the hospital at Estherville. Kriebs died there at midnight without gaining consciousness.
Lester Adkins of Mountain Lake, Minn., brother in law of Mrs. Gustafson stated Saturday that they had heard that Kriebs was threatening her and had intended to go to Huntington Tuesday to see what she had to say about it. (Continued on page 4)
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Spring. Mrs. Nielsen is with her daughter now and Mrs. Adkins called upon her at the hospital on Saturday. Other relatives were with her Sunday. Unless complications wet in Mrs. Gustafson will survive. She is given a very favorable chance of recovery by attending physicians.
Mrs. Gustafson’s two daughters, Stella Mae, 5, and Leila Lee, 2, have been staying with their grandmother Mrs. Christian Nielsen at Jackson, Minn., since.
Funeral services for Mr. Kriebs were held Sunday afternoon at St. Patrick’s church, Estherville. Rev. Chas. Cassidy of Des Moines was in charge of the short prayer service. Interment was made in the Catholic cemetery. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, June 22, 1932)
Mr. and Mrs. August Koenecke and daughter of Lisbon, N.D. were visitors at the home of Mrs. Koenecke’s mother Mrs. Lewis Mathwig the first of the week. They came to attend the funeral of Peter Kriebs, stepfather of Mr. Koenecke. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, June 22, 1932)
Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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