Priest dies after he’s attacked in church rectory, Nebraska officials say. ‘Tragic’

A Nebraska priest has died after he was attacked inside of a church rectory, officials say.

Father Stephen Gutgsell was assaulted “during an invasion at the rectory of St. John the Baptist parish in Fort Calhoun early Sunday morning,” according to a news release from the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Around 5 a.m. Dec. 10, first responders received a 911 call about an attempted break-in at the residence, according to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

When Washington County deputies arrived, they found Gutgsell with stab wounds, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Gutgsell was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries, church officials said.

“Please join Archbishop George Lucas in prayer for the repose of Father Gutgsell, for his family and for the St. John the Baptist parish community in this tragic time,” church officials said.

Deputies found a man inside the church rectory and took him into custody, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials did not release the suspect’s name, but did tell the Omaha World-Herald, “He is not from Fort Calhoun or even Nebraska as far as we know about.”

“Father Gutgsell has been here 11 years, and I thought he was a very holy man,” parishioner Mike Fitzgerald told the news outlet. “He did a lot of things for the community. He always made sure that the (church) bulletin had everything in it that we needed to know about things going on at the church.”

Fort Calhoun is about 20 miles north of Omaha.

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