CHIPPEWA FALLS — Ritchie German Jr. shot each of his three relatives multiple times, according to a preliminary autopsy report.
Chippewa County Coroner Ron Patten said Ritchie’s 66-year-old mother, Bridget German, was shot five times in the head: three in the back of her head and two on the side.
Patten said that Ritchie’s 32-year-old brother, Douglas German, and Douglas’ 8-year-old son, Calvin, each were struck twice.
“Both had one in the front of the head and one to the back of the head,” Patten said.
There were no additional bullet wounds on their bodies.
Each bullet was likely a “kill shot,” so there would have been no reason to fire more than once, Patten said. It is unclear why Ritchie German fired multiple shots into each victim, he said.
“There are a lot of questions like that,” Patten said.
The three people were found deceased in the home at 16964 54th Ave. about 12:54 a.m. Sunday. Police located Bridget German in the basement. She was apparently shot and killed in a basement bathroom and dragged to an adjacent room. Douglas and Calvin were shot in the kitchen, wrapped in a sleeping bag and dragged later to a bedroom area, Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said.
Patten said a .22 caliber revolver was used in the deaths.
Based on the condition of the bodies, along with the timeline of when the three people were last seen alive, Patten agreed with earlier reports that they were likely killed Friday night or early Saturday.
A final autopsy result is still being compiled, he added.
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“It would show the angle and direction of travel of the bullet; it’s not going to make any difference,” Patten said.
Ritchie German shot and killed 24-year-old Laile Vang at her Lake Hallie home at 13578 45th Ave. at 10:20 p.m. Sunday. He then shot and killed himself. Patten confirmed that both deaths were from a single shot to the head from a shotgun.
Police have said 10 total shell casings were found at the Lake Hallie residence. Vang’s parents were each shot in an arm as they raised them in a defensive posture; each injury was severe enough that each damaged arm was later amputated.
Kowalczyk said his officers are still investigating the connection between Ritchie German and Vang. Although there were a handful of text messages between them, described as being sexual in nature, it doesn’t appear Vang really knew who German was, Kowalczyk said.
“Follow-up on all phones will be going to the crime lab,” he said.
Kowalczyk confirmed that a gun and handcuffs were found in a car that Ritchie German had left running outside Vang’s home.
The sheriff department’s tip line is 715-726-4563, and Kowalczyk urged people to call if they saw Ritchie German between Saturday and Sunday.
“We haven’t received a lot of tips, but we’ve followed up on those,” he said.
An online fundraiser has raised more than $24,000 for the Vang family for medical expenses.