Courier file photo

OTTUMWA — Court filings are offering additional information about the Friday standoff that prompted Ottumwa schools to dismiss students early.

John Steinbach, 55, is faces a charge of domestic abuse assault in the case. The criminal complaint said he grabbed a woman by the throat and held her down on a bed, and also used a “high-powered rifle” to pin down her chest.

Investigators said Steinbach told the woman during the assault he was going to “blow her head off.”

Police responded to a domestic abuse call on North Pocahontas Street Friday morning. That call led to several streets being blocked off as Steinbach refused to leave the house.

The location is close to Evans Middle School, which raised concerns given that Steinbach was known to have a rifle during the standoff. Ottumwa schools, which had been scheduled for a 1 p.m. dismissal, let out early on the advice of police. It meant leaving in the middle of a snowstorm, but meant students and parents who came to pick them up were out of the way as the standoff wore on.

Steinbach eventually surrendered and was taken into custody.

After being arrested, Steinbach posted bond and was released from the Wapello County Jail. The court has issued a no-contact order prohibiting him from having any contact with the woman, and set Steinbach’s preliminary hearing for Friday.

The new charge comes in addition to one already pending against Steinbach. He was charged with domestic abuse assault in September. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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