In one case, a 72-year-old homeowner was disarmed of a gun he retrieved for protection and murdered in front of his wife. In the second case, a 77-year-old homeowner was shot at his garage after the suspect found a shotgun inside his house, according to the sheriff’s February 5 release.
The release provided the first detailed accounting from authorities of what happened in the series of deadly home invasions and car crashes in Washington County, Wisconsin. The names of the suspect and victim were not released, although it was revealed that the suspect was from West Bend, Wisconsin. The suspect is dead.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a news release that “investigators are continuing to piece together the tragic events that occurred on Forest View Road in the Town of Kewaskum on Wednesday afternoon which resulted in the deaths of three Washington County men.”
The investigating authorities include the sheriff’s office, Wisconsin State Patrol, West Bend Police Department, and Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation continues. DOJ is leading the probe, according to the press release.
“Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis is committed to maintaining the integrity of the investigative process while also fulfilling his commitment to transparency within the community,” tje release says.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Series of Deaths Started With a Stolen Car, the Sheriff Says
According to the Sheriff’s Department’s release, the sequence of events started on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, around 2:30 p.m, when the suspect, identified only as a West Bend man, age 30, “stole a car in the City of West Bend.”
About 15 minutes later, the suspect crashed that car in the Town of Kewasum at Forest View Road north of Ridge Road, the release says, “after he failed to negotiate a curve which resulted in a roll-over accident.”
That led to the first home invasion incident, say authorities.
“The suspect was able to self-extricate himself and forced entry into a nearby unoccupied residence,” the release says.
At that time, a 52-year-old Port Washington women “came upon the accident and pulled over to check to see if anyone needed assistance,” says the release. “She encountered the suspect who physically assaulted her and attempted to take her car. The suspect crashed that car while leaving the driveway.”
The Suspect Murdered a Homeowner Who Retrieved a Handgun for Protection, Officials Say
That’s when the suspect ran to the home in the 8100 block of Forest View Road. There, five minutes later, he “forced entry into the locked front door of the home and encountered the homeowners. He demanded and obtained their car keys. He attempted to drive away but was not able to get the car started.”
At that point, say authorities, “He came back into the residence and physically assaulted the elderly couple. The suspect once again exited the home in an attempt to steal the car. The male homeowner retrieved a handgun for protection. Tragically, the suspect was able to overpower the victim and took control of the gun. He then fatally shot the 72-year-old male homeowner.”
The suspect “then attempted to shoot the wife but the firearm did not fire,” according to the news release.
The Suspect Fled to Another Residence & Shot a 77-Year-Old Man With a Shotgun in the Home
That wasn’t the end of the mayhem.
“The suspect then fled on foot to another residence in the 8200 block of Forest View Road where he encountered another resident,” the release states.
“The suspect obtained a shotgun in the home and fatally shot the 77-year-old male resident just outside his garage. The suspect then fled the residence. This homicide was unwitnessed. All of the victims throughout this incident were random and unknown to the suspect.”
That’s when authorities arrived and “encountered the armed suspect on Forest View Road near the scene of the second homicide as he was leaving that area around 3:05 p.m.”
The deputy and the suspect “exchanged gunfire and the suspect was struck with a law enforcement round. A perimeter was established and a drone located a subject matching the suspect’s description a short distance north of the deputy(s) initial encounter. Officers approached and located the suspect deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. A firearm was also located near the decedent.”
The shooting deputy “is a nine-year veteran of Washington County law enforcement and has been placed on administrative leave as a standard protocol pending the outcome of the independent investigation. He was not injured as a result of this incident,” says the release.
Sheriff Schulteis said, “This horrific incident has struck this community and our agency at its core. We lost two valuable members of our community at the hands of this senseless crime spree. Their absence will impact many and we mourn with you. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies go out to the surviving victims and families of the deceased whose lives are forever changed. There are many more questions to be answered as to why this occurred. I assure the community that investigators are working diligently to be able to provide those answers. In the meantime, we ask that the public respect the privacy of the victims and their families and allow them to grieve.”
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