Hunting rifle used in New Town shootings

BISMARCK – A hunting rifle was used in the homicides that killed a New Town grandmother and three children, according to autopsy reports.

Documents from the State Forensic Medical Examiner’s Office state that Martha Johnson, 64, and her grandson Ben Schuster, 13, died from a gunshot wounds to the head from a .25-06 rifle.

Julia Schuster, 10, died from a gunshot wound to the chest and Luke Schuster, 6, suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the report.

The injuries occurred about 3 p.m. Nov. 18 at Johnson’s home at 301 6th St. N. in New Town.

New Town Police Chief Arthur Walgren said the victims had no vital signs when first-responders arrived on scene shortly after the 911 call came in at 3:17 p.m.

Christian Schuster, 12, called 911 after he survived by playing dead, authorities have said.

Kalcie Eagle, 21, the man the FBI has labeled a person of interest, died from self-inflicted cutting wounds to the neck, according to the Medical Examiner’s report. The time of injury was 7:10 p.m. Nov. 18 in the area of First Avenue Southwest in Parshall, the report said.

Walgren said the rifle did not belong to Eagle, but may have belonged to a family member.

Local authorities initially had jurisdiction over the case, but the FBI is now handling it because Eagle is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, Walgren said. New Town lies within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Although the FBI has not said Eagle is the suspected shooter, Walgren said authorities believe all suspects are accounted for.

“We believe that he was the actor,” Walgren said.

The 25-06 is a small-caliber hunting rifle that is somewhat uncommon, Walgren said.

“I don’t know a lot of people who own those types of guns,” Walgren said.

Johnson’s funeral was held Monday in New Town. Services for the Schuster children are scheduled for Thursday in Warsaw, N.D., where the children lived before moving in with their grandparents.

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