The mood in the community of Lennox, S.D., is somber and likely will remain that way for a while, as residents prepare for the funeral of a man killed in a workplace shooting.
The funeral for Jon Richter, 45, is scheduled for Feb. 20 at Chancellor Reformed Church, according to Dindot-Klusmann Funeral Home.
Truck driver Jeffrey DeZeeuw, of Sioux Falls, got into an argument over a delivery on Feb. 12 with Richter, a supervisor at a Sioux Steel Co. location known as ProTec, authorities said. DeZeeuw later returned, fatally shot Richter, wounded worker Kathy Steever and injured another employee, Brian Roesler, who confronted DeZeeuw and is credited with likely preventing more injuries or deaths. DeZeeuw then killed himself.
“Those individuals out there were members of our community, and being a small community, everybody knows everybody,” Mayor Orv Wiebers told the Argus Leader newspaper.
People in small towns have a trusting nature, and Lennox is in “grieving mode,” City Finance Officer Jerry Jones said.
“Honestly, in your smaller community, we’re an easier candidate because we don’t have (big-city) security,” he said. “But who’d have ever even imagined anything like this happening?”
The shooting has shaken even the newest members of the community. Ahmed Algattan came to Lennox last fall as a foreign exchange student from Kuwait. The 16-year-old high school junior did not immediately contact his parents about the shooting.
“I don’t want my mom to be worried,” he said, adding that he would tell her “someday.”
Wiebers said Lennox is a resilient community and will bounce back, but for now residents are still coming to grips with what happened.
“It’s a sad situation,” retiree and substitute teacher John Kirchner said.
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