Nicholas Pingel was identified as the gunman who shot and killed two innocent homeowners in a series of home invasions in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation.
The DOJ wrote that it “continues to investigate the officer involved death in Kewaskum, Wis. that occurred on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.”
Authorities also released a photo of Pingel, 30, of West Bend, Wisconsin, who died at the scene.
Two homeowners lost their lives after being shot by Pingel – with their own guns. One of the victims was identified by his family as Ray Engelking, 72.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Sheriff’s Deputy Shot Pingel at the Scene
According to the news release from DOJ, local law enforcement officials “were called to Forest View Road in the Town of Kewaskum following a 911 phone call from a resident reporting a subject that forced his way into the residence demanding the keys to a vehicle.”
At the scene, “the first arriving deputies encountered an armed suspect on Forest View Road. Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Goodman and the suspect – Nicholas S. Pingel, age 30 of West Bend – exchanged gunfire and the suspect was struck with a law enforcement round.”
The release continues, “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. An autopsy confirmed that Mr. Pingel died as the result of the law enforcement round.”
Goodman is on administrative leave, which is standard practice while an officer-involved shooting is being investigated. “He is a nine-year veteran of Washington County law enforcement,” authorities said. The investigation remains ongoing.
Two ‘Innocent Citizens’ Died in the Shooting Spree
Two “innocent citizens” died in the deadly chain of events in the town of Kewaskum, a rural area in southeastern Wisconsin in northern Washington County, according to an earlier release from the Washington County Sheriff.
In one case, a 72-year-old homeowner, Engelking, 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.
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 “stole a car in the City of West Bend.”
About 15 minutes later, the suspect crashed that car in the Town of Kewaskum 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.”
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 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.”
Engelking’s family released a lengthy statement to WISN-TV. It reads in part,
Secondly, we want to confirm that while protecting the security of Deborah Engelking—the mother to his three boys and grandmother to three girls — our ‘Papa,’ Ray Leonard Engelking was indeed killed by a bullet fired during a violent confrontation with the intruder, who assaulted Mrs. Engelking. She has not exhibited any lasting physical injury thus far, but the emotional wounds are considerable. Without hesitation, she handed over keys to her vehicle but it wasn’t enough. Similarly, Papa was an avid sportsman with deep reverence for life and commitment to research-backed gun safety measures. He would have gladly relinquished every gun he owned if it meant preserving any life lost or traumatized that day. Tragically, our family has now joined a long suffering group of families who have lost loved ones to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence. Despite all of this, and despite the constraints the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our interactions with loved ones, we are not giving into fear.
Pingel Has a Criminal Record That Includes Felony Burglary Convictions
Nicholas Pingel has a criminal history in Wisconsin court records. He has open misdemeanor charges for battery and disorderly conduct.
He also has a 2016 criminal conviction for disorderly conduct, a 2015 conviction for criminal trespass to a dwelling, and felony convictions for multiple burglary convictions.
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