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Alleged NYM shooter dies in hospital, investigation still active

Photo by Brian Hansel A property located three miles east of New York Mills in Otter Tail County was the scene of a shooting the night of July 31 involving two young men. Authorities say Jacob Geiser, 23, fatally shot Ethan Honer, 20, and then himself.

With the community still reeling from an apparent murder/suicide that claimed the lives of two young men last week near New York Mills, on Monday authorities identified Jacob Geiser, 23 as the man they believe on July 31 fatally shot Ethan Honer, 20, and then himself. The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office (OTSCO), Karvonen and Son Funeral Home, and St. Cloud Hospital all confirmed that Geiser later passed away. A funeral notice from Karvonen and Son said he died Aug. 1.

A press release previously sent from the OTSCO last week had said Geiser was deceased when in actuality he was alive and in critical condition. The OTCSO later said they had been misinformed and promptly corrected the release.

Honer was currently dating Geiser's ex-girlfriend, and on the night of the shooting Honer, the girlfriend (whose identity is not yet public), and a relative of the girlfriend went to Geiser's residence on County Highway 56 three miles east of New York Mills to pick up the girlfriend's dogs, Lt. Matthew McGuire of the OTCSO said. At 9:13 police received a call reporting gunshots at Geiser's residence. When authorities and EMS arrived they found Geiser and Honer with gunshot wounds. Honer died on scene but Geiser was transported to Tri-County Health Care and later airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital in critical condition.

McGuire said Thursday that no charges will be filed in the incident, but the investigation is still active as authorities continue to interview those with relevant information and wait on a final autopsy report from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office. He said the Ramsey County office typically handles autopsies of deceased persons from Stearns County, where St. Cloud Hospital is located.. The autopsies of both Honer and Geiser were undertaken in Ramsey County, he said. Also, it is "not uncommon" for metro-area agencies to handle autopsies of subjects who died in Otter Tail County when the case is sensitive, McGuire said. A preliminary report has already come back, McGuire said, but could not yet be released by the OTCSO.

Both Honer and Geiser appeared to have no prior history of violent crimes or felonies.

According to obituaries posted on the Karvonen and Son webpage, Honer graduated from Perham High School in 2011 and worked as a dairy farmer. Geiser attended high school in Wadena and worked for a local trucking firm.

On Thursday, the Facebook pages of both men were filled with expressions of sympathy and love from the community.

"Why do such horrible things happen to such good people?" Cat Kawlewski wrote on Honer's page. "Rest easy Ethan you will be forever in our hearts."

A more detailed incident report on last week's shooting and a transcript of the 911 call with witness identities redacted may be released by the sheriff's office at a later date.

Messages were left by the Pioneer Journal at phone numbers believed to belong to parents of Geiser and Honer on Tuesday, but they had not received a response as of press time Thursday.