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Man barricades himself in Winterset church, then taken into custody

The person of interest in an Omaha double homicide, Gage Walter, surrendered peacefully to police Sunday after barricading himself in St. Paul Lutheran Church.

WINTERSET, Iowa — A person of interest in a double homicide investigation in the Omaha area is in custody after barricading himself inside a Winterset church Sunday, a lieutenant with the Omaha Police Department said. 

Police identified the man as 27-year-old Gage Walter, who allegedly stole a PT Cruiser from the Omaha homicide scene on Saturday.

West Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Heintz said Walter fled when police tried to pull him over as he drove the vehicle in West Des Moines Sunday morning. Walter led officers on a chase for about 45 minutes before abandoning his vehicle and entering Sr. Paul Lutheran Church in Winterset. 

Walter then barricaded himself inside the church for four hours before eventually surrendering peacefully after negotiations with Iowa State Patrol and West Des Moines Police Department. Officials said no church parishioners were inside. 

Walter is a person of interest in the deaths of Marceline Teeters, 93, and Linda Walter, 70, whose bodies were found Saturday inside an Omaha home. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the women are Walter's great-grandmother and grandmother. 

In Iowa, Walter faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police. He could also be charged with burglary for entering the church.  

According to an Omaha PD press release, the department plans to extradite Walter to Nebraska in relation to the double homicide investigation. 

West Des Moines and Winterset police, along with the Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Madison, Adair and Dallas County Sheriff's offices assisted in the response.

"[It was] a great team group effort by local law enforcement here to get this to surrender peacefully," said Mitch Mortvedt, Iowa DCI assistant director, at a press conference Sunday. 

In early April, police in Council Bluffs were called to a scene by Walter, who told dispatchers he was in a hole in the ground near a rail yard. Once officers arrived on scene, they discovered Walter there. 

Once officers ran Walter's name through dispatch, they learned he had an outstanding warrant in Sarpy County, Nebraska. 

He was ultimately turned over to Nebraska police for those charges and pleaded guilty through a plea deal. 

Walter was sentenced to 105 days in prison. His bond was reinstated on July 6.

Walter was released three weeks ago, despite his father's warning that Walter was a danger to the community, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Earlier this month, officers in Council Bluffs were called on a criminal mischief report. A caller told dispatchers he heard pounding on his wall and came outside to find Walter walking away from the building with a hammer, acting erratic.

When officers arrived, they say they found Walter with a hammer in his waistband. Officers also recovered a glass methamphetamine pipe and a marijuana pipe. 

He was found guilty of possessing drug paraphernalia and sentenced to one day in county jail.

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