Local News

Columbus Area Death Investigation

A Columbus Police Officer was dispatched to Prairie Ridge Health, at 1515 Park Avenue in Columbus Monday morning, February 19 around 6:20 a.m. for a report of a man outside the entrance area with a gun. The officer arrived on the scene, and it was reported that the man had shot himself in the emergency room waiting area. Medical aid was immediately attempted by medical staff but not viable, as he had already passed away in this case.

Columbus Police Officers requested that Dodge County Deputies respond to the individual’s residence, in the Town of Elba, to check on the status of the individual’s wife.

Dodge County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived around 7 a.m. at an address on Oak Grove Dr. and located a female subject deceased in the home. The sheriff’s office immediately began a joint law enforcement investigation into this incident and the case is still open and under investigation. 

The investigation to this point has led them to believe that David Zittel, age 85, shot his wife, Susan Zittel age 81. He then went to Prairie Ridge Health, entered the lobby and shot himself. No other individuals are believed to be involved in this incident.

With this incident occurring inside of a hospital, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office feel it is important for the public to be aware that this is an isolated incident, and that the community is safe. They would like the community to also know that Prairie Ridge Health responded as they should have, and immediately went into lock down until mid-afternoon. They also diverted all ambulances temporarily until it was determined safe to resume operations. They resumed normal operation after the law enforcement investigation was completed on Monday, February 19.

The Columbus Police Department and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office have been in contact with the family, and they respectfully request privacy as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

No other information will be available for release in this incident until the investigation has been completed.