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Byron man killed in Sunday night shooting identified

William Isaac Shillingford, 31, of Kasson, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault. He was arraigned Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Olmsted County District Court and is being held on a $1 million bond.

William Shillingford 5-9-22
William Shillingford.
Contributed / Olmsted County Sheriff's Office
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ROCHESTER — The Byron, Minn., man shot and killed at his rural home on Sunday, May 8, 2022, has been identified as 70-year-old John Colbert, the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office announced during a news conference on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

William Isaac Shillingford, 31, of Kasson, Minn., is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault, and was arraigned Tuesday morning in Olmsted County District Court. Shillingford is being held on a $1 million bond.

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The motive behind the homicide is still unknown at this time, according to Lt. Lee Rossman of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. Rossman said Shillingford and Colbert's families were acquaintances, and the two men knew each other. Rossman said Shillingford was a manager at Anytime Fitness in Byron and has hunted on Colbert's property before, but they are still unaware what brought him to Colbert's home Sunday night.

Olmsted County District Attorney Mark Ostrem said "the investigation is ongoing" when asked if there's reason to believe the homicide was premeditated.

Rossman also would not speculate on whether Shillingford may have been under the influence of drugs, or going through a mental health crisis, again stating the ongoing nature of the investigation at this time.

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Rossman said before Shillingford drove to the Colbert residence, earlier that day he "visited relatives with children and his children's relatives, made a couple of different stops throughout the day into the evening. Before he went out to the incident address, he was speaking with a friend."

When asked what time Shillingford was with the friend, Rossman said that information was still part of the active investigation.

According to the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, at around 10:44 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to a call concerning a shooting in the 5000 block of County Road 105 in Kalmar Township, south of Oxbow Park.

When a deputy arrived to the property, they found pickup truck, later determined to be Shillingford's truck, parked in the driveway and a heavy trail of blood leading to the front door of the residence, according to the criminal complaint. Once inside, the deputy found a man, later identified as Colbert, who appeared to have lost a significant amount of blood from a gunshot wound that appeared to enter the man's right arm and grazed his torso, hitting an artery in the process.

Law enforcement officers attempted life-saving efforts on Colbert, but he was unresponsive. Colbert was pronounced dead at 11:24 p.m. after Mayo Clinic Ambulance and Byron Ambulance first responders arrived.

An Olmsted County deputy discovered the residence was equipped with outdoor security cameras and was given permission by a family member to access the recording. The footage showed the pickup truck circled past the driveway once before parking in the driveway. The suspect then got out of the truck and walked near the garage while holding a handgun, the criminal complaint states.

In a statement to the deputy, Colbert's son said when he noticed the truck pull into the driveway, he walked to the edge of the garage where he saw the suspect hiding around the corner, according to the criminal complaint. Colbert's son went back inside the home before returning back to the garage with Colbert, who was now also armed with a handgun.

Security camera footage showed the suspect "racking" his handgun, aiming it at Colbert and his son then firing three rounds — one each from standing, crouching and prone positions — and striking Colbert. Colbert's son, who had accompanied him, then picked up his handgun and shot two rounds at the suspect before they returned back to the home and made the 911 call, according to the criminal complaint.

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The suspect fled from the property after the shooting.

Later, while law enforcement was scouring the area searching for the suspect, a deputy was approached by two witnesses who said they saw a white man wearing jeans, a T-shirt and no shoes crossing the field before he laid down in the ditch. The witness said they saw the man get up and run from officers coming into the area, the criminal complaint states.

While searching the field, officers found a wallet containing a card with the suspect's name on it. Witnesses later informed officers that a white male suspect was running out of the ditch, according to the criminal complaint. Officers then noticed the suspect running toward the driveway of a nearby home and proceeded to detain him at gunpoint. While being detained, Shillingford was "extremely belligerent and continued to yell out random names."

Deputies later found a 9-millimeter handgun on the second level of a barn/event center in the area near where the suspect was apprehended, the criminal complaint states. The handgun's caliber was the same as three shell casings found at the Byron man's residence.

When asked if the handgun was registered to Shillingford, Rossman said that information is part of the ongoing investigation.

This is the first murder case in Olmsted County in 2022.

Erich is a digital content producer at the Post Bulletin where he creates content for the Post Bulletin's digital platforms. Before he moved to Rochester, Erich worked as a sports reporter for Rivals.com covering the University of Illinois' athletic programs in Champaign, Illinois. Readers can reach Erich at 507-285-7681 or efisher@postbulletin.com.
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