Real Estate Developer
Shot seven times by Carl Showalter
|Wade Gustafson Gallery|
As a young man, Wade had a daughter named Jean. In the late fifties, he lost a great deal of money on a failed venture involving two parking lots. At some point after this, he got into the auto industry, founding Gustafson Motors with his business partner Stan Grossman. Jean married Jerry Lundegaard, and had a son named Scotty. Though Wade loved Jean and Scotty, he had little respect for Jerry. However, he hired his son-in-law as a car salesman at his company, and Jerry eventually became the executive sales manager.
In December of 1986, Jerry brought Wade a proposition about buying 40 acres on Wayzata to build a parking lot.
In January 1987, Wade and Stan Grossman decide to move forward with Jerry's proposal. When they offer Jerry a finder's fee, he becomes enraged, having assumed that they would give him a $750,000 loan to make the deal himself. They decide to cut him out entirely and move on the lot independently.
Not long afterwards, Wade receives a call from Jerry, who claims that Jean has been abducted and is being held for a $1 million ransom. Wade and Stan meet with Jerry, who shoots down Wade's insistence that they call the police. He relents when Stan sides with Jerry on the issue, and is then talked out of trying to negotiate the ransom down to half a million.
Wade gathers $1 million and places it in a briefcase which he takes to Jerry's house. He insists on being involved in the delivery of the ransom, but Jerry insists that he must handle it himself. This time, Stan sides with Wade, and the two of them plan for Wade to deal with the ransom.
Armed with the money and a revolver, Wade drives to the top of a parking garage and meets with one of the kidnappers, Carl Showalter. Carl is immediately enraged that Wade is there instead of Jerry and commands him to hand over the briefcase. When Wade refuses to pay before Jean is released, Carl shoots him in the stomach. Badly wounded, Wade pulls out his revolver and shoots Carl in the face, grazing his cheek. In response, Carl shoots Wade six times, killing him. After his death, Jerry conceals Wade's body in the trunk of his car and drives away with it.