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Minnesota man found guilty in attempt to kill his ex-wife at work

John Bruce Steurer Photo courtesy Anoka County Sheriff

ST. PAUL—John Steurer meant to kill his ex-wife when he ambushed her at her North St. Paul office last fall and shot her with a 20-gauge shotgun as she tried to flee, jurors have decided.

The Ramsey County District Court jury reached the guilty verdict Thursday afternoon after a couple of hours of deliberation in Steurer's trial on a charge of intentional second-degree attempted murder.

His ex-wife, Deanna Steurer, survived gunshot wounds to her side and arm during the attack on Nov. 23, 2016.

She nodded her head and wiped away tears as the verdict was read.

John Steurer displayed no emotion.

The 48-year-old Anoka man took the stand in his own defense at trial and told the jury he meant only to cause his ex-wife physical pain when he shot her, not to kill her.

He was angry over their divorce and that she'd started seeing another man, he testified.

If he had wanted to shoot to kill her, the avid hunter said, he could have done so.

His ex-wife also testified during the four-day trial. She cried as she recalled looking up in her office to see Steurer standing in the doorway armed with a shotgun and a pointed question on the day before Thanksgiving.

"Do you have any last words?" she said he asked her.

The woman fled past Steurer and was shot while she attempted to run down the stairs of the building, which was nearly deserted on the day before Thanksgiving. She fell to the floor but managed to make her way out to the company's loading dock area. There, she testified that Steurer knocked her down and climbed on top of her with the gun.

He tried to aim it at her face but she wrestled it away. He began beating her in the face with the butt of the gun and his fists, she said.

The woman escaped when Steurer became distracted. She ran back into the building, locking the door behind her and calling 911.

Steurer was arrested at a park in Coon Rapids after shooting himself three times in the face in an attempt to kill himself during a standoff with police.

He will be sentenced in July.