BRANDON, S.D. (KSFY) - Authorities say a teen fired guns at homes in northwest Iowa, leading to an investigation where police found dozens of guns at the juvenile's home in Brandon.
Courtesy Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office
Neighbors said they were shocked to see so many squad cars outside their homes on S. Lakota Avenue in Brandon.
"I haven't seen a lot of activity there other than the other night, seemed like every squad car in Brandon was out front," Tyler Tripp, a neighbor said. "It's pretty surprising. I mean, you hear about stuff like that more often than you'd like to but, to know that it's like, right here, that's a pretty real, real thing. you know?"
According to the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office, two unoccupied homes in Lyon and Sioux counties in Iowa were fired at in December. Iowa authorities determined the shooter was from Brandon, asked South Dakota law enforcement agencies for assistance in finding the suspect.
Brandon police arrested two suspects, 50-year-old Artis Kattenburg and a juvenile male who lived with her. Investigators say they determined that the teen had fired on the homes in Iowa.
Both homes belonged to members of the same church. Capt. Jason Gearman of the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said both the teen and Kattenburg had some sort of falling out with members of the church, leading to the shootings.
On December 29, police searched Kattenburg's home on S. Lakota Avenue in Brandon. Police say they found around 80 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Some of the weapons were fully automatic.
"During that search warrant there were multiple firearms that were taken -- high end optics that included nightvision, infrared, thermal optics," Brandon Police Chief David Kull said. "And they ranged anywhere from pellet guns, .22's to tactical weapons up including three, .50 caliber Barrett semi-automatic rifles."
"[They had] tacticle vests -- some tacticle vests that were probably better than most police departments have -- the basement was fortified," Gearman said.
Gearman said while the weapons were obtained legally, investigators were alarmed with Kattenburg's demeanor toward the government and law enforcement.
"They've been purchasing $3,000- 7,000 worth of weapons pretty, pretty continuously for every three to five months," Gearman said.
"Some comments that were made through the investigation of being government 'handled,' micro chips placed in brains, things like that -- we felt that this is a dangerous situation that was going to progress fairly quickly," Gearman said.
"The witness information brought into question the mental stability of the suspects that were identified," Kull said.
"We don't have a specific to say this was going to happen tomorrow or what was going to happen, but something was going to happen," Gearman said. "So we acted on this."
Police said that assistance from witnesses may have foiled a major plan.
"When the public comes in and starts reporting things like that and being aware that hey, 'These indicators are here, why is this person doing this?'" Gearman said. "This is how you stop things like the Texas church shooting, the school shootings."
Kattenburg is facing charges for child endangerment. Police say she came to the Sioux Falls Law Enforcement Center on her own for an interview and was subsequently arrested. Authorities are still working to determine what charges the juvenile is facing. Additional charges for the illegal modifications of the weapons could also be forthcoming.
KSFY News reporter Erika Leigh will have more details tonight at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.