The suspect in the killing of Aaron McAtee in Monticello, has plead not guilty to the charges brought against him. Reports state that, 38-year-old Nathan Russell of East Dubuque, shot and killed Aaron McAtee on November 7th, in the 400 block of North Farley near the loading dock of Monticello's Fareway store. 48-year-old McAtee was shot in what investigators call "a random act of violence."

Credit: Delaware County Sherrif Office
Credit: Delaware County Sherrif Office

Court documents show Russell plead guilty in September 2022 to felony possession of methamphetamine as part of a plea agreement that also dismissed a felony gun possession charge. A judge sentenced Russell to two years in prison and a year of supervised release. Based on that timeline, Russell should have still been in prison. That prior conviction also meant it was illegal for him to buy, own, or possess a firearm.

attachment-2023-12-07 10_06_39-Fareway employee killed in Monticello shooting, suspect shot, identified by poli

After the shooting, police located the suspect in Hopkinton, and during the attempt to take him into custody, an officer shot Russell when he allegedly failed to comply. Russell was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of his gunshot injuries. The Delaware County Deputy involved in shooting Russell has been placed on incident leave pending further investigation.

Nathan Russell has been formally charged with:

  • Murder in the First Degree
  • Going Armed with Intent
  • Felon in possession of a Firearm

Additionally, he has invoked his right to a speedy trial. The legal process will unfold as the case continues to be investigated and brought to trial.

Original Article Posted 11/7/2023:

According to a statement from Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith, on Tuesday, November 7th, 2023, a tragic incident unfolded, described as a "random act of vilolence," at Fareway Meat and Grocery in Monticello, Iowa, where 48-year-old Aaron McAtee, an employee of the store, was shot and later succumbed to his injuries.

Aaron McAtee is pictured above 2nd from the left.

Law enforcement authorities identified 38-year-old Nathan Russell of East Dubuque, Illinois, as a person of interest in the case. Russell was eventually located in Hopkinton by a Delaware County Deputy and, during the attempt to detain him, the deputy discharged his firearm, resulting in Russell being transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with gunshot injuries. The deputy has been placed on critical incident leave while the investigation continues.

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While the investigation is ongoing and being conducted in partnership with various law enforcement agencies, including the Division of Criminal Investigation, Jones County Sheriff's Office, and the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, there is no active threat to the public as a result of this incident. The Jones County Attorney's Office and the Delaware County Attorney's Office are reviewing the case.

Original story below published 11/7:

My hometown of Monticello, Iowa was shaken by a shooting incident that unfolded near the Fareway store on 433 North Farley Street. According to reports from local news sources, a person from a nearby business heard gunshots, prompting a swift response from law enforcement.

Credit: Google Maps Location of the incident in Monticello
Credit: Google Maps
Location of the incident in Monticello

I was actually just in this Fareway store taking the grand tour with Manager Bruce Smith. The Monticello Fareway has just undergone an amazing update to the flooring and over all aesthetic, in addition to new freezers and coolers and Bruce was excited to show me all his new "gadgets and toys." Being as I worked at this Fareway with Bruce from the time I was 16 until I was 21, the grand tour was never in doubt, as my wife and I enjoyed an early morning shopping trip.

Monticello Fareway Manager Bruce Smith seen at far right in the above picture.

I only bring this up as a segue into the old adage, "that just doesn't happen in a small town." Maybe that's a bit naive of me to think; taking for granted the Monticello I grew up in and know. The incident of course took place outside the Fareway store, but store employees assured law enforcement that everyone inside the establishment remained safe. However, a man was shot behind the store and subsequently airlifted to the hospital. Law enforcement has also reportedly taken a suspect into custody.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

In response to the incident, the Monticello Fareway store issued a statement announcing its temporary closure due to "unforeseen circumstances." This decision came as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of its customers and staff. Witnesses report an employee who worked behind the meat counter was the victim. They also state he was shot multiple times at around 7:30am. In addition, there has been some footage of part of the arrest itself making the rounds on social medias. Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith did confirm that the arrest of the suspect took place in Hopkinton, Iowa and during the event there was an officer involved shooting which resulted in the suspect being airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

In response to this event, Monticello, Cascade, and Anamosa Schools took precautionary measures by implementing lockdowns. The Monticello Superintendent, emphasized that the lockdowns were precautionary, stating there was no immediate danger to students and staff. Additionally, UnityPoint Health - Jones Regional Medical Center and its clinics are not accepting patients while police continue to investigate the shooting. School lockdowns have since been allowed to lapse and are now operating normally.

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Law enforcement continues to investigate the incident, and the community remains on edge, awaiting further information and updates. The safety of the residents remains a top priority, and local authorities are working diligently to ensure the well-being of the community. As for me, I'll be thinking of Bruce (the best store manager ever) and the entire Fareway family today: condolences and prayers for all involved.

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