WATERLOO - It all started over pro football jerseys.
Eric Rule had brought dinner home that night after leaving work. A staunch Minnesota Vikings fan, he was upset when he opened the door and found his daughters clad in Green Bay Packers T-shirts.
His father-in-law had recently returned from a trip to Lambeau Field and bought the jerseys for his granddaughters as a joke.
But Rule wasn't laughing. He left.
Agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation pieced together what happened in the hours leading up to the Sept. 12 fatal shooting.
An acquaintance later spotted Rule at a tavern near his Keystone Avenue home. After that, he went to a friend's home in North Cedar where there was a campfire in the yard. Then it was on to an after-hours club with acquaintances.
At some point, Rule talked to his wife on the phone, and she told him not to come home if he had been drinking.
When he showed up at home at about 2:18 a.m., his wife heard him working the lock and refused to let him in, according to DCI reports. She called her father, Keith Shimp, who came over and phoned police.
Authorities said there wasn't a fight, but the wife didn't want Rule inside the house because she had to work early that morning.
The wife's call to emergency dispatchers shows she was hesitant about having police come over.
"I just don't know what to do," Beth Rule said. She said she didn't want her husband to get in trouble but didn't want him to stay the night at home.
"I'm not worried about him harming anybody," she said later in the phone call.
She would later say Rule wasn't trying to force his way in.
DCI investigators also determined Eric Rule phoned his cousin just moments before he became involved in a scuffle with police. Family members speculated Rule was trying to line up a place to stay the night.
Phone records show the call was placed.
The cousin told investigators he didn't hear the phone ringing at 2:23 a.m. and only discovered the missed call in his phone's log after Rule was dead.