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Published December 21, 2011, 09:59 AM

Officer's shooter was being discharged from Guard

LAKE CITY, Minn. (AP) — The man accused of shooting a Lake City police officer was an Iraq war veteran who was in the process of being discharged from the Wisconsin National Guard for failing to report to duty, a Guard spokeswoman said.

LAKE CITY, Minn. (AP) — The man accused of shooting a Lake City police officer was an Iraq war veteran who was in the process of being discharged from the Wisconsin National Guard for failing to report to duty, a Guard spokeswoman said.

Alan Sylte Jr., 25, joined the Guard in February 2009 and served three months in Iraq this summer, Guard spokeswoman Jackie Guthrie said Tuesday.

Authorities said the Hager City, Wis., man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday after he shot and wounded Lake City Officer Shawn Schneider. The 32-year-old husband and father of three remained in critical condition Wednesday at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Police were called Monday morning to a Lake City residence about an argument between Sylte and a woman, according to a story published Wednesday in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis (http://bit.ly/rURd9L ). She escaped unharmed before Sylte fired at the officer. Authorities found him dead inside the house several hours later. Authorities said Tuesday that a preliminary autopsy shows he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Sylte's uncle, Michael Sylte, told the Star Tribune that he had been in touch with his nephew via Facebook. Michael Sylte says his nephew wrote that he was a "wreck" and that "if I mean anything to anyone, thanks and I love you."

Alan Sylte's suicide came almost exactly six years after his father died of lung failure, Michael Sylte said.

He was being discharged from the Wisconsin National Guard for failing to report for duty once a month as required, Guthrie said. He served on active duty from March to August of 2010, coming home early due to the drawdown of troops. The private served in Iraq with an engineer company based in Spooner, Wis., and Superior, Wis. The unit provided security and cleared roadside bombs.

The Star Tribune reported that police had been called to handle a domestic disturbance involving Sylte on another occasion. In Wisconsin in November 2006, St. Croix County sheriff's deputies were called to a rental property in Somerset for a "possible suicidal male and shot gun involved." He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, but the charges were later dismissed.

Denae Saltness, who was living with Sylte, told deputies that they had argued and Sylte had pushed her down, punched her in the stomach and later kicked her as the two fought, the report said.

Saltness told the Star Tribune she worried about his safety more than hers that night. Though their relationship ended about five years ago, she said, Sylte was a "good kid." He played football in high school, worked toward a GED while they were dating, and had a lot of friends, she said.

"I want to know what happened to push him to that point. It just doesn't make sense to me," she said through tears. "I don't see him ever trying to hurt somebody else."

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