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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Former Bremen man shot to death

By Margie Wuebker
Police in Oxnard, Calif., continue to investigate the shooting death of a man with ties to the New Bremen area.
David Lester Laut, 52, was found dead outside his Oxnard home around midnight last Thursday. He reportedly went outdoors to check on suspicious noises. His wife Jane told authorities she heard three gunshots a short time later.
Police responding to her 911 call found the body in the side yard with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. They theorize he confronted armed intruders. There are no suspects in the case at the present time.
Laut, the son of Dotty Billger Laut and the late New Bremen native James Laut, was employed as athletic director at Hueneme High School in the Oxnard Union School District. He previously served as track coach for eight years at the school and as a coach in Ventura, Calif., for a year.
He reportedly spent several hours at the high school on Thursday helping arrange sports physicals for student athletes in preparation for the start of a new school year. Counselors were on hand and a memorial service was held when students returned to the classroom this week.
Born in Ohio and raised in Southern California, Laut won a bronze medal in shot put at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
In 1985, he was ranked the number seven shot-putter in the world and number one in the United States, according to Associated Press accounts. His career nearly ended the following year when he tore tendons in both knees during an agility test to become a firefighter. His efforts to make the 1988 U.S. Olympic team fell short.
He also won a gold medal in shot put at the 1979 Pan American Games and two titles while attending the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Laut reportedly came to the New Bremen area from time to time to visit with his grandparents, Lester and Viola Speckman Laut, who are now deceased.
Surviving with his wife are a 10-year-old son, Michael, and a brother, Don.
A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Hueneme High School.
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