Latest: Suspect faces murder charge in Neenah motorcycle shop standoff

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Brian Flatoff

Brian Flatoff

WINNEBAGO COUNTY — Prosecutors have filed murder and attempted first-degree homicide charges against the man arrested in a hostage standoff at a Neenah motorcycle shop.

One man died and a police officer was injured after a bullet bounced off his helmet in the four-hour standoff December 5th at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah.

According to an amended criminal complaint, Brian Flatoff was charged Wednesday, December 16th.

Flatoff now faces the following 16 charges:

  • Second-degree recklessly endangering safety
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon (2 counts)
  • Attempted first-degree intentional homicide (2 counts)
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide
  • Taking hostages – release without bodily harm
  • False imprisonment
  • Felony murder
  • Failure to comply with officer’s attempt to take person into custody
  • Felony bail jumping (6 counts)

Flatoff’s attorney, Colleen Bradley, hasn’t returned a call seeking comment on the new accusations.

Flatoff had been charged with felony reckless endangerment and other crimes after authorities said he fired a bullet into a woman’s bedroom wall after a night of drinking. Those charges arose from events that Winnebago County prosecutors say preceded the standoff.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Flatoff, a friend to Flatoff talked with Neenah police. She believed Flatoff was “involved in the hostage incident” that was taking place at Eagle Nation Cycles. The friend told police Flatoff “had been drinking vodka or rum throughout the course of the night.” At one point, the complaint says “when he stood up, he fell over and hit his head.”

Early Saturday when Flatoff awoke, the friend yelled at Flatoff because “she thought he had a concussion and that she was going to call 911.” But Flatoff apparently ran at her “with a .45 caliber pistol in his hand and started to yell at her.” He said, “You know I can’t handle going back there, to prison.” The complaint indicates Flatoff then straddled the friend, and “he then pointed the gun at the wall behind her, above her head, and pulled the trigger.” The shot put a hole in the wall and the friend told police, “she probably had gunpowder from the shot on her face, but she had since wiped her face.”

After that incident, the complaint indicates Flatoff grabbed a 9mm Mac-10 handgun belonging to the friend — and departed for Eagle Nation Cycles. Flatoff apparently had an “ongoing issue over a motorcycle with employees” at the cycle shop. The friend believed Flatoff “was going there to beat up (an employee) and try to take his motorcycle back.”

Upon arriving at Eagle Nation Cycles, the complaint indicates a team of officers entered the building after learning Flatoff had indicated he wanted to speak with someone within five minutes, or he would start shooting hostages.

Upon entry, two of those officers fell down a staircase, and another was shot by Flatoff in his head. The bullet struck that officer’s ballistic helmet.

One officer reported “numerous, rapid shots” fired at officers who entered the building.

The officer who was shot, and the officers who fell down the stairs were extracted from the building.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Shortly thereafter, the complaint indicates 60-year-old Michael Funk exited the building through the rear door. An officer observed a silver handgun in Funk’s hands. Officers yelled “Police — show me your hands” and “Police — drop the gun.”

The complaint indicates Funk moved “in a manner that caused officers to fear for their safety,” while still holding onto that gun.

Officers then fired at Funk, and he fell to the ground. The complaint indicates shots were also fired by Flatoff towards Funk as he exited the building.

A handgun was observed by officers laying next to Funk’s body, according to the complaint.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the officer-involved shooting portion of this incident.

During this hostage situation, the complaint indicates “numerous calls were placed” to Flatoff by crisis negotiators. Eventually, Flatoff allowed the remaining two hostages to exit the building.

Flatoff eventually agreed to put his gun down, and exit the building. He was then taken into custody without incident.

The complaint indicates when authorities spoke with Flatoff after the hostage situation was resolved, he indicated the incident stemmed from “his motorcycle being stolen from him.”

According to the complaint, an individual had posted $3,000 bond for Flatoff in a case out of Outagamie County, and told Flatoff he would have to pay $8,000 to get his motorcycle back. Flatoff indicated he considered this a theft of his motorcycle and said: “I have every intention of killing him.” Flatoff said when he went to Eagle Nation Cycles to retrieve his motorcycle on December 5th, he “snapped” when he saw his bike on a life, disassembled and partially re-painted.

Flatoff told authorities he had planned to cut the man’s throat with whom he had the dispute over the bike, and then kill himself, the complaint says.

This man never showed up at the shop on this day — but Flatoff told authorities that if he had, “I would have probably killed him.”

The complaint filed against Flatoff makes reference to a 2003 conviction for felony bail jumping, and a 2015 case for felony OWI – fifth/sixth offense. The complaint says Flatoff was released from custody on August 28th, 2015 after posting bond in that case.

Flatoff appeared in court in Winnebago County on December 9th for his initial appearance via video monitor as the initial charges were filed in this case for the events leading up to the standoff.

Bond was set at $500,000.

Flatoff again appeared in court on December 14th.

Flatoff’s attorney said in court on that date that she doesn’t believe he’s competent. She said a competency evaluation has already been requested in a separate case.

“I’m telling the court that I think at this time Mr. Flattoff is not competent to proceed,” Colleen Bradley said. “I don’t see the need to order another evaluation when one has been ordered in Outagamie County and I can confirm that later.”

Flatoff’s next court date is scheduled for January 25th.

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