MOUNT AYR, Iowa — A Mount Ayr woman and her teenage son are OK after escaping from her gun-toting soon-to-be ex-husband.
Valerie Longstreath thought Tuesday would be the last night of her life. That’s the night she answered her door to find her soon-to-be ex, Randy, standing there with a shotgun. “So I opened the door a little bit and I seen him standing there with a gun and I shut he door and locked it and I moved over a little bit and that’s when the first gunshot went through the door,” Valerie said.
Randy fired three more shots at the locks on the door as Valerie grabbed her phone, dialed 911, and ran to a back room where her teenage son was. “And by the time we got to the back room and got on the ground he was already in the house,” Valerie says, and that’s when he started firing into the wall and ordering us to come out of the bedroom and sit on the couch.”
For two hours Randy held Valerie and her son, Nathan, at gunpoint, talking to her. “(Saying) that he wanted me back and that he loved me and put a shotgun to my head and told me that he loved me.” Valerie recalls, “He held my son at gunpoint. My 14 year old…that’s something that changes your life when you see your son with a gun in his stomach.”
At one point, Valerie says Randy ordered her son to go out to his car and get more shotgun shells because he was going to kill all three of them. Nathan stepped outside and was grabbed by police. “And then he wanted me to open the back, sliding back door and shut the lights off so he could see if any cops showed up, he was gonna blow away whoever came up on the patio,” Valerie says.
A few minutes later, Valerie saw her chance to escape as Randy was reloading the 12-gauge. “(He) sat on the couch loading it and told me to go get him something to drink and when I went back into the kitchen to get him something to drink that’s when I slipped out the back door.” She says, “He stepped out on the back patio and shot out over the pasture while I was running. I was trying to stay in the shadows but went underneath the tree and that’s when he shot out over my head.”
For the next four hours, police negotiators talked with Randy, eventually getting him to give up. “Trying to get him to understand that he just needs to turn himself in put the firearm down and come out and that’s what he did,” says Ringgold County Sheriff Mike Sobotka.
Randy Longstreath is charged with domestic abuse assault, harassment, burglary and going armed with intent. Valerie Longstreath says that, up till two weeks ago, Randy was in an in-patient mental health facility in Missouri where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. But despite that, she says, he was able to buy a shotgun. A federal background check is required to buy a shotgun, but the background check does not delve deeply into a gun buyer’s mental health issues. Valerie says when she asked Randy about the gun, he smiled and said, “I got it just for you.”
Valerie doesn’t think this is over. She says she knows, one day, Randy will be out of prison. “Sitting there on the couch he says if I go to the loony bin or jail when I get out I’m gonna come back and finish it.”
For now, though, she’s just glad to be alive, she says, by the Grace of God. “The Lord. That’s what saved me,” she says, “Because by all rights we shouldn’t be here.”