Police have made no arrests in the slaying of a downtown camera shop owner and his son but say there is no immediate further threat to public safety.
Paul Petras, 56, and A.J. Petras, 19, were found shot to death Saturday afternoon inside May’s Photo at 425 Main St. Police said the shooting likely occurred sometime after the store closed at 2 p.m.
It was Paul’s wife who discovered their bodies when he did not return home from work, police revealed today.
The store was supposed to close at 2 p.m. A customer at a nearby restaurant called 911 at 5:24 p.m. after Sherri Petras ran from the store calling for help.
Police believe the Petrases were shot inside the business sometime between 2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
The shooting brings the city’s 2012 homicide count to four, the most in two decades, though police say the crime appears to be "an isolated incident directed to this particular business" and is not connected to any of the city’s other killings this year.
"One homicide is too many," said Capt. Robert Lawrence, spokesman for the La Crosse Police Department, who added that, while it is alarming that two people were shot and killed in a downtown business, "there's no apparent or known further threat at this time."
Lawrence added that three people are in jail in connection with the previous homicides. Izelia Golatt is scheduled to go on trial next week for the death of Kristen Rodgers, who was found March 6 in a North Side alley. Kong Vue and Pao Choua Vue are awaiting sentencing in November after pleading guilty to reckless homicide in the shooting of La Crosse student Sara Hougom.
Police continue asking for the public’s help in what they called a “complex investigation with many resources being deployed.”
State and local investigators combed through the crime scene overnight Saturday and through the day on Sunday.
Police also seeking to interview anyone in a May’s photography class that ended about 2 p.m. Saturday.
A memorial service is scheduled Friday morning at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Mormon Coulee Road in La Crosse.
Return to lacrossetribune.com for further updates.