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Nebraska priest killed after church assault; suspect is in custody, officials say

A Catholic priest died on Sunday after being assaulted at his church in Nebraska, officials said.

Father Stephen Gutgsell, a priest at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Calhoun, was assaulted at the church's rectory. He was taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries. He was 65 years old, according to local media

Father Stephen Gutgsell
Father Stephen Gutgsell Archdiocese of Omaha

The attack happened at 5:05 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, which said that deputies arrived at the scene and found a suspect inside the rectory. The suspect was taken into custody and transported to a county correctional facility. 

The investigation is ongoing, and neither the identity of the suspect nor the manner of Gutgsell's death has been released. A motive is not known at this time, and there is no further threat to the public, the sheriff's office said.

"The Archdiocese of Omaha is praying for Father Stephen Gutgsell," the Archdiocese of Omaha said in a statement. The statement asked mourners to join the archbishop in prayer for Gutgsell, his family and the parish community.

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