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Face Of A Killer? Former Player Charged With Slaying Iowa Coach

Mark Becker, 24, a former high school football player charged with shooting and killing coach Ed Thomas

PARKERSBURG, Iowa (AP) It was a 24-year-old former high school football player who walked into the school's weight room Wednesday morning and fatally shot his former coach, before sheriff's deputies arrested him at a nearby home a short time later, authorities said.

Mark Becker shot Aplington-Parkersburg High School football coach Ed Thomas several times with a handgun after walking into the room at about 8 a.m., authorities said. Thomas was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died.

Several students were in the room at the time of the shooting, but none were injured, said Kevin Winker, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. School was not in session Wednesday.

"The people that were present were not threatened in any way," Winker said.

Becker is charged with first-degree murder and was being held in jail.

Winker said Becker was arrested without incident at a home in rural Parkersburg shortly after authorities received a call about the shooting.

He said he couldn't discuss what Becker's motive for the slaying might have been, or what Becker might have been up to in the days leading up to the shooting.

"Motive is one of those things we're looking into," Winker said.

Winker said Becker used a handgun in the shooting. He did not elaborate.

He said investigators plan on interviewing students who were in the weight room and to look into Becker's past.

"Mr. Becker's entire past is being looked at," Winker said.

The school is in Parkersburg, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines.

(Family photo)
Thomas was one of the most well-known high school football coaches in Iowa.
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