Police continue to investigate drive-in shooting

Law enforcement officials are still investigating a shooting that occurred Thursday outside a drive-in theater west of Newton that claimed the life of a prominent business owner.

At 11:38 a.m. Thursday, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, Newton Police Department and Newton paramedics responded to a 911 call from John Blattert who said he was going to do harm to himself at the Valle Drive-In Theater. Blattert, 57, has been owner of the Newton McDonald’s restaurant for more than 15 years.

“(A) male subject said he was here and was going to shoot himself,” Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said. “Newton (paramedics) got here within three to four minutes and found him with a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to Des Moines (by) Mercy One.”

Halferty also said there are no suspects, and despite the high probability of an apparent suicide, deputies will investigate the matter as if there may have been another shooter, which is standard procedure.

Helen and Howard Snook, who live across the street from the theater, said they did not hear any gunshots. The came outside once they heard the sirens and noticed that traffic had been stopped.
Blattert died Thursday evening at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. Funeral arrangements are pending, and online condolences may be left for the family at the Pence-Reese Funeral Home website, www.pencefh.com.

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.