UPDATE: Wife of Grand Island Shooting Victim Speaks

By: 10/11 Central Nebraska News Email
By: 10/11 Central Nebraska News Email
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Grand Island Police say a Nebraska attorney was the victim of a deadly shooting Wednesday night.

Officials say 58-year-old Michael Petersen shot 52-year-old Todd V. Elsbernd at the Downtown Center at 308 N. Locust Street in Grand Island around 6:30 p.m.

Police said Petersen shot Elsbernd twice in the torso with a rifle. Elsbernd was taken to St. Francis Medical Center where he died.

Elsbernd practices civil and criminal law, including divorce and child custody cases, according to his law firm's website.

According to police, Petersen had been sitting in a car outside the downtown office before the shooting. They believe he targeted Elsbernd.

Witnesses told police that Petersen had been parked in a public parking lot near the scene for "a considerable length of time before the shooting," according to Police Chief Steve Lamken.

Online court records indicate Elsbernd was involved in divorce proceedings between Michael Petersen and his ex-wife Nancy Petersen. Nancy was found dead Thursday morning. Officials are investigating her death as a homicide also.

Elsbernd's wife, Jeannie, spoke with 10/11 and said, "He was a great dad, a loving husband, and loved spending time with his family and friends." She went onto say he works very, very hard to support his family and clients.

Jeannie concluded by saying that his family misses him terribly.

Police say Elsbernd had two children that attend Grand Island Schools and a third son that's in college. Officials say there are crisis counselors available to students.

Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Winter released this statement:

"We are saddened by the terrible news of the death of Todd Elsbernd. Grand Island Public Schools lost a board member and, more importantly, we lost a caring parent who took an active role in his children's lives and improving the community. Todd was appointed to our board in August of 2012 to fill a vacant position in Ward C. He later was elected by his ward to this position and served on the Finance and Facilities Committee as well as the Personnel Committee. Todd Elsbernd was a man who cared deeply about this school district and all our students and staff. He will truly be missed. We encourage everyone to keep Todd's family in your thoughts and support GIPS students and staff who have been impacted by this senseless tragedy."

Hall County Attorney Mark Young spoke of the death Thursday, calling Elsbernd a wonderful attorney, a good person, and "a great opponent."

"I think I speak for every attorney in Central Nebraska when I say that this is a really tragic day and this is a deeply felt loss," Young said.


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