Key witness in high-profile murder case fatally shoots intruder

The key witness in a high-profile murder case in which the suspect’s conviction was overturned shot and killed a man who confronted her at her home in O’Fallon, Missouri, but investigators believe the two are unrelated.

Pamela Hupp, 57, arrived home just after noon on Tuesday when a man approached her as she sat in her car in the driveway. At some point, the confrontation escalated and Hupp called the police to report a burglary in progress, O’Fallon Chief of Police Roy Joachimstaler told local media.

Hupp broke away and ran inside her house, but the man followed her. As police were en route, the situation escalated and Hupp shot the man, Joachimstaler said. She then placed a second call to the police informing them that shots were fired.

When police arrived a short time later, they found the suspect, 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger, dead as a result of his injuries. Police only recovered one handgun, which belonged to Hupp, and they did not say if Gumpenberger had some other type of weapon.

According to reports, Hupp was a key witness in a local high-profile murder case from 2011 in which a woman was brutally stabbed to death. The woman’s husband, Russell Faria, was convicted, but acquitted last year on account of new evidence.

Despite the background and timing, authorities do not have reason to believe there was a connection between the shooting and the murder case, nor do they believe the Hupp and Gumpenberger were previously acquainted. It appears Hupp was a random target, although Gumpenberger’s motive is not exactly clear. No vehicle believed to belong to Gumpenberger was found near the scene and his last know address was some 15 miles away.

A woman acquainted with Gumpenberger, who did not wish to be identified, said he was typically an easy-going kind of guy, but he did have a tendency to turn violent. Another acquaintance, Alan Lee Welch, told reporters Gumpenberger was involved in a serious car accident in 2005 while driving drunk and suffered a traumatic brain injury, but he has no idea why Gumpenberger would have gone to Hupp’s home.

Authorities said Hupp is fully cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.