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(UPDATE) - The Olmsted County Sheriff's this afternoon identified the victim of Sunday night's fatal shooting near Oxbow Park as 70-year-old John Colbert of rural Byron.

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The charges filed against the Kasson man accused of fatally shooting a rural Byron man Sunday night indicate there was an exchange of gunfire at the victim's property on the east edge of Oxbow Park.

31-year-old William Shillingford has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault in connection with the death of 70-year-old John Colbert. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office released his name during an afternoon news conference.

photo by Andy Brownell
photo by Andy Brownell

According to the criminal complaint, Olmsted County deputies were dispatched to the rural residence around 10:45 PM Sunday after Colbert's son called 911 and reported his father had been shot after he went outside to investigate a suspicious vehicle. The first deputy to arrive at the scene found a pickup truck registered to Shillingford parked in the driveway of the residence and a heavy trail of blood leading to the front door of the home.

The deputy found Colbert on the floor inside the home and indicated that it appeared he had lost "a significant quantity of blood from arterial bleeding." The court document also says the deputy observed a gunshot wound to the man's right arm and another on the right side of his torso that might have been caused by the same gunshot. Despite lifesaving efforts by officers, Byron First Responders, and a Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service crew, Colbert was pronounced dead at the scene.


The property was equipped with outdoor security cameras, which showed Shillingford's pick up circling the driveway and then parking. The criminal complaint also says the security video shows him walking near a garage holding a handgun before Colbert and his son walked from the front of the house in the direction of the detached garage. The video recording also captured Shillingford as he "racked" the handgun and assumed a shooting stance as he aimed it in the direction of the victim and his son before he could be seen firing multiple rounds at them. The charges state it appears he fired three shots from different shooting positions and then fled on foot.

The court record says Colbert's son told investigators that he saw the pickup pull into the driveway and when he went outside to investigate he spotted a man hiding around the corner of the garage. He then went back inside and spoke with his father before the two of them went to investigate with his father armed with his handgun. The son stated, that after his father was shot, he managed to fire two shots at the gunman before they returned to their home and his father fell to the floor.

Spent shell casings from two guns, three from a 9mm weapon and two from the victim's .45 caliber handgun, were found at the scene. A large search effort was also launched with assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies, which led to the apprehension of Shillingford less than a half-mile from where the shooting occurred. The criminal complaint describes him as being "extremely belligerent" and yelling out random names. The criminal complaint says a 9mm handgun was recovered at a barn/event center near where Shillingford was arrested. The weapon was found next to a broken window on the second floor of the structure.

The charges do not indicate why Shillingford had gone to the property or list a possible motive. While Sheriff's Captain Jim Schueller earlier indicated that investigators did not believe the victim and the suspect knew each other, officials now say that was not the case and the two were acquaintances.

Shillingford was arraigned on the charges this morning in Olmsted County Court. His bail was set at $1 million and he was ordered back to court on May 24th.

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