Southern Iowa man charged in shooting when dispute leaves one dead by suicide after police chase

Philip Joens
Des Moines Register

A Ringgold County man shot two people in a vehicle Sunday night after he allegedly mistook their identities for another man he had an ongoing dispute with.

Joseph Vanderflught, 38, of Kellerton is charged with two counts of attempted murder in the shooting. The man Vanderflught had a dispute with allegedly shot and killed himself during a chase with Ringgold County Sheriff's Deputies that same evening.

At 10:12 p.m. Sunday, Ringgold County Sheriff's Deputies tried to pull over a man who was allegedly displaying a gun publicly and "in a threatening manner," according to Mitch Mortvedt, an assistant director with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

The man then led officers on a "high-speed pursuit" and allegedly fired shots at the deputies' vehicle, according to a DCI news release. The man allegedly shot and killed himself before his vehicle left the road and struck a tree, according to the release. Officials say no deputies were injured or fired their weapons in the incident.

That same man allegedly had an ongoing dispute with Vanderflught, police say, but are not publicly disclosing the subject of the dispute at this time.

At 10:44 p.m. Sunday, another man and woman were shot as they were traveling on County Road J-45 in Lamoni, according to the news release and criminal complaints. Vanderflught admitted to shooting at the vehicle as it passed his daughter's house because he thought the vehicle was being driven by the man he'd had a dispute with, criminal complaints detail.

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Both occupants of the second vehicle were transported to a Des Moines hospital and are in stable condition, according to the news release.

Vanderflught is currently being held at the Decatur County Jail.

The Ringgold County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to the Des Moines Register's request for additional information.

Philip Joens covers breaking news for The Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at pjoens@registermedia.com or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.