3 die in Wapello shooting
MUSCATINE JOURNAL PHOTO Authorities seal off a house at 202 Prairie St. in Wapello, Iowa, after a shooting incident Friday. A toddler and two adults died in the shooting.

WAPELLO, Iowa — Three people, one of them a child and one a Louisa County jailer, died after an apparent murder/suicide here Friday afternoon, sheriff’s department officials said.

The department received a call at 1:10 p.m. about a shooting at 202 Prairie St., which is near Wapello High School. Louisa County Sheriff Curt Braby initially told reporters that a deputy found one person dead at the scene and that two others were in critical condition.

Later in the day, department officials said Jessie Smith, 22, had been pronounced dead at the scene. Kirk Massey, 25, who had been airlifted by Air-Care helicopter to Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, and Evan Massey, 4, who had been taken by helicopter to University Hospitals in Iowa City, both were pronounced dead upon arrival.

Braby confirmed that Kirk Massey was employed at the Louisa County Jail.

The incident is under investigation by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and presumed to be a murder/suicide, department officials said. The identity of the shooter and other details about the incident were not immediately disclosed. Wapello, a community of about 2,000 people, is the Louisa County seat and is located about 50 miles southwest of the Quad-Cities. 

Outside the house where the shooting occurred, relatives of Smith said the woman formerly lived at the residence. The two people identified themselves as family members but did not give their names before leaving the scene.

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Neighbors said Smith previously had a relationship with the home’s current resident, Massey, and that the two had a son.

Deneese Brown of Wapello was baby-sitting Friday afternoon at the house next door. She said the couple split up about two weeks ago. Brown said Smith told her she was afraid of Massey and that he had threatened to harm her in recent weeks.

Brown also told reporters the couple had agreed on a visitation arrangement for their son. Smith was supposed to be picking up the child Friday to spend the weekend with her, and that may have been the reason she was at the home, Brown added.

The house stands directly across the street from Wapello High School, where the parking lot was used as a landing pad for Air-Care helicopters that transported Kirk and Evan Massey to separate hospitals in the region. Wapello High School Principal Steve Bohlen said cars were moved from the school’s parking lot, as requested by law enforcement, to accommodate the landings and takeoffs.

Inside the school, all of the blinds on the windows and doors were closed. Otherwise, students were released at the regular dismissal time and no special precautions were taken, he said.

Peter Rugg can be contacted at (563) 263-2331, Ext. 322, or peter.rugg@muscatinejournal.com.Melissa Regennitter can be contacted at (563) 263-2331, Ext. 317, or m.regennitter@muscatinejournal.com.

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