WATERLOO – Police are seeking the public’s help as they investigate the death of a former University of Northern Iowa softball player who was killed when she was struck by a bullet while driving on U.S. Highway 218 early Sunday morning.
Micalla Alexis Rettinger, 25, of Cedar Falls, and her passengers were returning from work when the shooting happened.
“There is nothing to indicate the victims in this case were in any way involved in any activity that would have caused them to be targeted in this manner,” said Maj. Joe Leibold with the Waterloo Police Department.
Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has offered a $7,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Leibold said authorities want to hear from anyone who noticed anything suspicious in the area at the time of the shooting or anyone who may have a surveillance or trail camera that might have recorded something.
“We are asking for the public’s help in locating any person who may be involved in shooting or hunting — legal or illegal — in the area of the Cedar River between the Highway 218 Bridge and the Conger Ave. Bridge,” Leibold said.
A passenger, Adam Jake Kimball, 32, also was injured in the shooting, according to police. Rettinger’s autopsy is scheduled today.
According to police, Rettinger was driving southbound on Highway 218 at 2:38 a.m. Sunday when a bullet shattered the driver’s side window — not the windshield as previously reported — and hit her in the neck.
The projectile then struck Kimball.
Rettinger pulled over near the Greenhill Road exit and was later pronounced dead at the scene. Kimball was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and is expected to survive, police said. A second man in the vehicle wasn’t injured.
The shooting happened as Rettinger’s Jeep was crossing the bridge over Brinker Lake and the Cedar River. The area below is heavily wooded. Waterloo Police are investigating the area around Brinker Lake.
Leibold said one of the men in the vehicle had been working at a Cedar Falls bar that night, and they were traveling home when the shooting happened. There were no other vehicles on the highway in that area, according to initial reports, and there hadn’t been any trouble or other incident leading up to the shooting.
Police haven’t received any other reports of vehicles damaged by gunfire, and there were no reports of gunshots in the area at the time, Leibold said.
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Investigators collected fragments of the bullet for ballistics purposes.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Waterloo Police Department at 291-4340, ext. 7, or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at (855) 300-8477.
Rettinger, a native of Lenexa, Kan., was a four-year softball player at UNI from 2013-2016. She earned second-team all-Missouri Valley Conference recognition her junior and senior years in 2015 and 2016, leading UNI in hits in the 2016 season with 56 while recording a .311 batting average with 16 extra-base hits. She also drove in 20 runs from the second spot in UNI’s batting order, reaching base at a .412 clip.
Rettinger graduated in 2016 with a degree in biology. Her father, Steven Rettinger, told the Des Moines Register that Rettinger was planning to become a dentist, and that she was probably picking up Kimball, her boyfriend, from his job at a Cedar Falls bar when they were both shot.
Both Rettinger and Kimball were employees at Mulligan's Brick Oven in Cedar Falls, confirmed Mulligan's co-owner and manager Ryan Bennett. He declined to say what positions they held or how long they'd been employed there, and said the restaurant may release a statement at a later time.
"We're just kind of trying to get our employees through it," he said Tuesday morning.
Condolences began pouring in to Rettinger’s Facebook page when news broke.
“You were more than a teammate, you were a sister,” said former UNI softball teammate Mel Walls. “I am forever grateful for the memories.”
UNI released a statement Monday afternoon mourning the loss of Rettinger, known as “KK.”
Her former softball coach Ryan Jacobs was quoted as saying she was “a pretty special kid to us.”
“I can still see the smile on her face and I remember the way she always thought of other people first in a genuine way,” Jacobs said in the release. “When we had youth camps, she was the one that all of the kids on campus would be drawn to. This is a huge loss to our team and everyone that knew her.”
UNI said a moment of silence to remember Rettinger will take place during today’s softball home season finale at 5 p.m. in the UNI-Dome.
Staff writer Amie Rivers contributed to this report.