Coralville man charged in Lu Verne bank shooting
Williams arrested on Interstate 35
LU VERNE — A Coralville man has been charged following a Wednesday morning bank robbery in Lu Verne that left one woman dead.
Valentino Williams has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery and is being held in the Kossuth County Jail.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mike Krapfl credited the community and the several law enforcement agencies involved for the swift arrest of the suspect.
“It happened very quickly and I would say it was not just law enforcement, it was the community at large because several witnesses helped in reporting the incident and giving us an accurate description,” he said. “They were critical in law enforcement finding this individual so quickly. It started with the citizens.”
The Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to a possible shooting at Security State Bank in Lu Verne at approximately 8:40 a.m. on Wednesday. When emergency personnel arrived on scene, they found 43-year-old Jessica Weishaar lying on the sidewalk. Weishaar, an employee of the bank, died at the scene.
Court documents filed in Kossuth County District Court state that Weishaar was found with multiple gunshot wounds.
Krapfl said it appears Weishaar was outside opening the bank for the day when she was shot by Williams.
Also according to the court documents, witnesses were able to describe a suspect and vehicle to assist law enforcement in the search for the perpetrator. A witness described a black male wearing a ski mask, while other witnesses described the vehicle as a dark-colored SUV or crossover with no front license plate.
Surveillance footage showed a suspect of “average height and wearing a dark colored Carhart-style coat with a hoodie pulled over his head,” the court documents say.
Less than an hour after the initial call about the shooting, Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers, Iowa State Patrol troopers, Division of Criminal Investigation agents and Kossuth County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop near mile marker 158 in the northbound lane of Interstate 35 in Franklin County. The traffic stop occurred at 9:38 a.m. and the vehicle and driver descriptions were consistent with witness reports and surveillance footage.
Williams was taken into custody without incident, according to Krapfl.
Iowa State Patrol troopers also located a black ski mask and black medical gloves along the roadway on county road B63. A local citizen found a green Carhart-style coat also along county road B63 and turned it over to law enforcement. Officers also located zip ties, boots and jeans in the area.
A second dark green coat was located by law enforcement near West Twin Lake in rural Hancock County.
Inside that coat, court documents report, officers found a laminated card for a rented 2019 Mazda CX-5, with a vehicle identification number that matched that of the vehicle driven by Williams.
Law enforcement searched the vehicle, seizing an empty black duffel bag, a gray colored backpack, black spray paint and burglary tools.
The rental company confirmed to law enforcement that the vehicle was rented by Williams in Iowa City on Monday and was due back to the rental company on Thursday.
At this point, investigators have “no reason to believe otherwise” that Williams was acting alone in this crime, according to Krapfl .
The incident remains under investigation, including by the FBI due to the involvement with the bank robbery.
“There is a possibility that there could be federal charges, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Krapfl added.