Steven Sueppel had been facing trial next month on federal charges of stealing about $560,000 from the bank where he worked.
A police spokesman said officers received a 911 call at about 6:30 a.m. telling them to go to the residence immediately. When they arrived, officers found the door unlocked and five people dead inside, KCCI-TV in Des Moines reported.
The spokesman said that, given the nature of the call, and the fact that Sueppel was facing embezzlement charges, there was concern about the safety of those living in the house.
Initial reports indicated that the five victims may have been shot, but the police spokesman said no one reported hearing shots fired.
Police said Sueppel was not in the home when they arrived.
The University of Iowa issued a campus alert about the case to students and parents by text message and e-mail, saying “an active shooter” was in the Iowa City area.
Police haven’t named Sueppel as a suspect, but they did issue a statewide alert to find him. He is described as a white male in his mid-40s, driving a tan Toyota Sienna minivan with license plate 501 BLO.
A crash near Iowa City on Interstate 80 Monday morning involved a Toyota Sienna minivan. Police have not yet confirmed if the two events are related. The driver was killed in the fiery crash.
Authorities said they were having a difficult time identifying the vehicle and the occupant.
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