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Police Officer Shot To Death

July 15, 1985

IOLA, Wis. (AP) _ One of Iola’s two fulltime police officers was found shot to death in a cemetery, a killing that shocked this farming community of 950 people.

″This just isn’t the kind of thing that happens in a small community,″ Mayor Harold Bucholz said of the death of Officer Gerald Mork, 31, the son of Waupaca County Sheriff William Mork.

Mork was found dead at Riverside Cemetery on Sunday after failing to respond to police radio calls while on patrol, a sheriff’s department spokesman said.

He had been shot twice in the back of the head, The Milwaukee Sentinel said today. A sheriff’s department teletype said Mork was shot with a semiautomatic handgun and there were no suspects in the shooting.

Iola was the site Saturday and Sunday of one of the nation’s largest collectible car shows, attracting an estimated 85,000 people to the area.

Don Conat, a sheriff’s department dispatcher, said a sheriff’s deputy found Mork’s body. He said authorities believed Mork, whose body was found outside his patrol car, was shot between 4 a.m. and 5:20 a.m. Sunday.

Mork was the only full-time member of the Iola police force other than Chief Michael Schertz. The force also has two part-time officers.

″I knew him all his life,″ Bucholz said of Mork. ″He was a very well- respected young officer. I felt shock and grief when I learned he had been killed.″

Chester Fraley, principal of Iola-Scandinavia High School where Mork graduated in 1971, described Mork as ″just a super guy.″

″He would work security at our basketball games and help out at the school when we needed help,″ Fraley said.

″It’s a real shock,″ he said of the death.

Mork, who was married and had two children, had been a member of the department for about eight months, Bucholz said. He had been fire chief, a part-time job, and a carpenter before joining the police department, Bucholz said.

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