Two “innocent citizens” are dead after a dramatic and deadly sequence of events in the town of Kewaskum, a rural area in southeastern Wisconsin in northern Washington County, according to the Washington County Sheriff.
Update: On February 5, the Sheriff provided the most detailed update in the case yet. You can read the latest details here.
The suspect is also deceased, the sheriff said in a February 3, 2021, news release.
The names of the suspect and victims have not yet been released; the motive is also not clear. However, it all added up to a frightening chain of incidents in an area of the state that doesn’t see a lot of crime.
“It is a sad day for the citizens of Washington County,” wrote Sheriff Martin R. Schulteis.
“On behalf of the sheriff’s office, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the victims’ families of this senseless crime. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to providing whatever resources are necessary to provide the families with as much information and closure as we possibly can. The names of the victims are not being released at this time to allow families ample time to grieve for their loss and make appropriate notifications.”
The sheriff added, “The Department of Criminal Investigations continues to run an independent investigation into the death of the suspect.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Initial Release Called the Incident a ‘Home Invasion’ in Which a Resident Reported a Suspect Was ‘Demanding the Keys to a Vehicle’
According to WISN-TV, the suspect “crashed and flipped his car while making a tight turn and then broke into a nearby home by pushing in the sliding glass door.”
The man then “carjacked a woman who had stopped to see if anyone was hurt in the crash,” according to the television station, but he then ran that car into a ditch and went to a house in the area. The victims were homeowners ages 72 and 77, according to WISN-TV. At one point, an “armed neighbor” ran the gunman off, WISN reported.
In their initial press release, the Sheriff’s Department revealed:
On Wednesday February 3, 2021 at approximately 2:50 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a landline 911 phone call from a resident in the 8100 Block of Forest View Road in the Town of Kewaskum reporting a subject that forced his way into the residence demanding the keys to a vehicle.
Deputies and an officer from the Kewaskum Police Department were subsequently dispatched to the scene.
At approximately 2:56 p.m. a second 911 call from a neighboring residence reported hearing shots fired and observed an armed subject walking towards the caller’s residence.
You can listen to scanner audio of the call below. At about 25 minutes into this file, a dispatcher says that shots were fired and the suspect was walking north in the area. The audio indicates there were several traffic accidents in the area and the suspect was walking in the woods.
In later scanner audio, a dispatcher says shots were fired at a squad on scene, and law enforcement respond. Later in the audio, dispatchers say they have shots fired “in the field.”
A dispatcher says, “Use caution. There was shots fired at law enforcement.” The suspect is described as a male wearing a jacket and jeans with brown hair.
The Second Victim Was Located After a Search of Nearby Properties in a ‘Complex Crime Scene,’ Authorities Said
As of 11 p.m. local time on February 3, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations remained in the area of “this complex crime scene that spans approximately .6 miles of Forestview Road in the Town of Kewaskum,” the sheriff wrote.
The original call led to a house with an estimated value of more than $400,000 in a rural area. One victim was found outside that home, according to police.
“During the initial response to this incident, tactical resources were dispatched to the area to locate the suspect. During that search of nearby properties, SWAT officers located one additional victim that died of an apparent gunshot wound,” according to the sheriff.
“This tragic incident has left two innocent citizens dead, at different residences, as well as the lone suspect,” the sheriff said.
The Suspect Was Discovered Dead of a Gunshot Wound
According to the initial release, when deputies arrived at the scene, “there was an exchange of gunfire with the armed suspect, followed by the suspect fleeing on foot.
“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,” reads the release. “Officers approached and located the suspect deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. A firearm was also located near the decedent.”
Law enforcement officials also “located a deceased subject outside the first 911 caller’s residence. A witness stated that the resident had been shot by the armed suspect prior to law enforcement’s arrival,” the sheriff wrote.
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