Is Tracey Roberts heroic mom or a shrewd killer?
Shots had been fired a few doors down in their neighborhood. At least one person was injured and one or more suspects were on the loose. The EMT couple rushed to the blue, two-story colonial on South Avenue where
Tracey and Michael Roberts lived. It was one of the nicest houses in town.
Kenlee Schomaker remembered what they had been taught about scene safety: Do not enter a home until it is secure.
Three sheriff's deputies arrived, scoured the house, found no suspects inside and waved them in.
Climbing stairs to the bedroom, the EMTs spotted a man slumped at the bottom of the bed in a pool of blood. Shell casings scattered the room. One bullet had gone into the back of his head and out through his eye socket.
His eye was gone.
He had no pulse, and Schomaker told a deputy that rescue attempts would be futile.
As the EMTs left, they heard Tracey Roberts, in the kitchen with her three kids and deputies, screaming.
Her report that two other intruders escaped sent deputies canvassing everywhere. Fear quickly spread in a town where folks usually leave their doors unlocked. One of the Schomakers' neighbors would spend that night at their house. Another borrowed shells to load his shotgun.
The dead man was Dustin Wehde. He mowed the grass at property Schomaker owned; nice if you knew him, quiet if you didn't. He had few friends; folks remembered him as a kid who played golf and liked video games. Was he the type to break into anyone's home?
Besides, he was close to the Robertses, who took him to church and to play paintball. His mother, Mona Wehde, was a real estate agent who was among the first to welcome them to town.
Had Dustin been trying to protect Tracey from the other man and been killed in a mixup? Or was it something else entirely?
Whatever happened, Schomaker told a reporter two days after the shooting, Tracey Roberts had to go through hell to be scared like that, to have fired so many times.
Just three days after the shooting, Roberts showed up alone at the back door of Mary Cullen's home 15 miles away in Storm Lake. Cullen gave piano lessons to Roberts' 11-year-old son Bert, but the visit wasn't about that.
Cullen's husband John was publisher of the Storm Lake Times, and Roberts wanted to get her story out. John's brother Art, the paper's editor, conducted the interview.
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