Scare in Germantown after man walks down street with guns

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GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- A man walking down Mequon Road carrying a loaded shotgun on his back, and a handgun on his waist had concerned residents flooding Germantown police with telephone calls this weekend. The man says he was just exercising his right to openly carry a firearm.

"Put a shotgun on my back and a pistol on my hip and I went for a walk," William Polster said.

Police responded to the scene after getting several frantic phone calls from people concerned about the man's intentions.

"He didn't say what his purpose was at the time and he didn't identify himself. The subject was polite. He was not confrontational. He did not want to identify himself. The officers were confident he did not do anything illegal. He did not violate any ordinances and he was free to go," Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell said.

Police say they didn't have a problem with Polster exercising his Second Amendment right, but they did have an issue with the manner in which he did it.

"People's perceptions were that this might be a problem. They feared for people's safety," Chief Hoell said.

Polster says the concern was unnecessary. He says his intent was to prove a point, and says he believes he was creating educational awareness.

"For the people that are scared -- one, just seeing a gun, there is no need to be afraid. Open carry -- the mere presence of a firearm deters crime, so many criminals will walk in, see an open gun, turn around and walk out. They won't commit the crime they were intending on committing. Secondly, people won't know it's legal. If guys see it, they might feel more comfortable to arm themselves and be able to defend themselves if the need arises," Polster said.

Although the incident was alarming for some, Germantown's Police Chief says he found something positive in the situation.

"I think it needs to be talked about. I'm hoping maybe some common ground can be found,"

In the future, Chief Hoell hopes people can agree on some common ground where open carry advocates can exercise their rights without scaring people.

Polster says he wants to open people's minds on the fact that it's not the gun itself that is the problem, but rather, the actions of the person carrying it.


  • George

    Open carry has been part of this country since long before this was a country that is not certainly in its infancy.

    • DeeDee

      Okay Bill but what if this situation had ended differently. What if no one called the police and this man shot people? Then what? Wouldn’t people then ask why did no one call police if they saw a man carrying guns?

      • 2econd

        ok, with that tone of “fear” with this comment… why dont more people call the police when they see a drunk staggering out of a bar heading for their car? but you see one guy walking down the road with a weapon, and everyone gets scared. its because our society has been brainwashed by l i b e r a l agendas that have put the fear of god into people about guns. rediculous.

  • ladoe

    IMO, I agree with you completely! The killer’s that walked into the theaters, elementary school, high school, beauty salon, temple, restaurants, etc., did not look dangerous. YET SEVERAL DEAD CHILDREN and ADULTS were fatalities of a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE misuse of a deadly weapon. I am for “CONCEAL”carry . NOT SHOW OFF, LOOK AT ME, MY WEAPON IS BIG, I CARRY AS MANY WEAPONS AS I WANT. I’ll use their word “STUPID” is EXACTLY WHAT IT IS. I DARE THESE “STUPID FOLK” TO WALK THE WALK IN A STREET WHERE THEY CAN PUT THE SELF DEFENSE “CLAIM” TO THE TEST. NOT A STREET WHERE THE THREAT IS NOT VISIBLE. HENCE CONCEALED CARRY LAW THAT HAS BEEN IMPLAMENTED IN WISCONSIN! I WISH THEY HAD USED ANOTHER ADJECTIVE… anywho, my point is that unless we know that you are not threatening the Police should be called.
    How is the public around you supposed to know?????!!!!!! STUPID! Good night.

    • PJ17

      Ladoe, you’re wrong about the psychopaths who killed all the innocent victims. They did not look harmless and they were not openly carrying. Get your facts straight. They were concealing their weapons so that no one knew what their intentions were. Open carry had been legal for many decades and is more appropriate than concealed carry cause people at least know that someone is armed. It deters crime if a criminal sees a good guy with a gun. Less crime would be committed if more people openly carried. Laws that take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens will not stop criminals who already don’t follow the law. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    • Richard

      No Vicki, unless you are being investigated for a crime and are under arrest for said crime, you do not have to present ID. This individual was not committing a crime, therefore released. Society has been brainwashed to believe that you MUST surrender ID when asked. That is not the case. In the academy, I was trained on the different ways to “ask” for an ID that made it sound like an order. If you are asked, you have the right to challange and request to know why you were stopped and if you are being investigated for a specific crime or under arrest. If the officer states you are not under arrest and free to leave at anytime, thank them and then walk away. If they refuse to answer your questions, request a supervisor or exercise your 5th ammendment immediately! And to the poster that stated this man would be shot in Milwaukee CO, think again, Sheriff Clark is pro second ammendment and isn’t like the Superintendant of Chicago PD who has given orders to his officers to shoot CCW citizens first and look for a permit later. Me, I conceal my weapon and don’t feel I need to show the world anything. I was trained by the Marines and law enforcement that the eliment of surprise is key. Otherwise, you will be targeted first. Sight of a weapon isn’t always a deterant. A well trained citizen force and higher education for civilians that fear a tool/gun/object is.

  • Bill Colmes

    It’s my right to walk down a street wearing nothing but a speedo. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  • Just Trollin..

    Yea, if you tried something like that in Milwaukee County..i’d probably be your last walk. Thats probably the most action Germantown has seen in awhile, but doing something like that here in Milwaukee Co would probably get you shot.

  • You're a Second Amendment Nutjob

    This guy is an idiot who was just looking for attention. No one in their right mind decides, “Oh hey, I’m going to throw a shotgun over my back and go for a walk” and assume everyone will think it’s ok.

    Here’s the problem…WE DON’T KNOW YOU. You’re not a friend, relative, colleague or otherwise. You’re some random dude with guns on him walking down the street. Why the hell wouldn’t it cause alarm?!

    Then there are people here saying those who called the cops are the problem. Are you seriously this stupid? No, you can’t be. You’re just trying to act tough on the internet. I guarantee had you seen this nutjob walking down the street, you would have called the cops as well, or if you’re as tough as you act online, you would have armed yourself and taken caution. You wouldn’t have been like, “Oh, look at that swell gentleman taking a peaceful stroll WITH A SHOTGUN AND PISTOL! :) ”

    Please stop spreading stupidity, people. There’s already enough of it going around as it is.

      • You're a Second Amendment Nutjob

        Too bad I’m not a Liberal, but please, keep regurgitating your idiotic rhetoric to prove how stupid you are.

    • Just Trollin..

      Ummmm yea, you do REALIZE they don’t have to know you or be a friend, relative and whatever else you named. He has the RIGHT to carry his gun(s) any where he wants as long as he is not being threatning regardless of what you liberals think. If it offends and scares you that he carries..LOOK AWAY!

    • Richard

      Well, if you’re that afraid of an individual that is walking around with exposed guns, then you must be in constant panic of those that are concealing. I don’t know any of the individuals I come in contact with, yet I don’t fear or question their intentions until they give me reasons. As far as your rants about people “acting” tough on the internet, well, you are just assuming that, so it is not fact. Let me ask you this, do you raise caution everytime you see an armed security guard, police or military person? If not, why? They are human and more than capable of “snapping” or doing harm, right? Or do you think that because they are in the uniform, it automatically eliminates them from evil intentions?! I have dealt first hand with bad officers/military. Given their training, they are far more dangerous than your average citizen. I agree that concealed is better than exposed, however, it is his right and unless the law is changed, or the 2nd Ammendment is rewritten or repealed, you need to find away to deal with your fear.

  • T

    Dear IMO, check your facts open carry has been legal for decades in WI. It was just never “allowed” until recently even though it was perfectly legal. Concealed carry on the other hand is new in this state.

  • House

    So this happened on St.Patricks day…when so many over partake in the drink. Maybe forgot to take his meds for his “other” issues. How does the common person know who this man is. I’m surrounded by gun owners, they don’t walk down the street freaking out the neighbors and pedestrians. Thoughtful guns owners don’t do crazy stuff like this. He made his point….he’s just a guy with too much time on his hands and a “look at me” problem! You made your point. Your neighbors know who you really are now! REALLY.

  • kevin.

    I worked with this nut job for over A year. Believe me, he is mental. He did this same thing in Sheboygan. He is not looking for awareness, he is looking for attention.

  • Steve

    “In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” – Mark Twain

  • Tim

    Funny if news channels didn’t just publish negative news stories for the pop of extra viewers the public wouldn’t be so dense about things such as conceal and carry. I wouldn’t provide my information either. It is his right to carry. He was not doing anything illegal; he doesn’t have to provide his information.

  • Vivian

    Oh yes, law enforcements going to be busy this summer with everyone walking around openly with their registered guns everywhere. Lets see how cool this will be.

  • You're a Second Amendment Nutjob

    CCW = GOOD
    Stupid people looking for attention by carrying in plain sight = BAD

    Don’t be stupid. Carry for protection one and all, not attention.

  • cowboy

    Open carry has been around for hundreds of years….Look back in history, men always carried…It’s not until recently that people have feared to open carry….

  • Bill

    “Open carry” is not in its “infancy”. The term is decades old. Probably older than the person who typed the statement. The problem is obviously not the weapon, but instead the person carrying it. You see my friend, a firearm is not able to discharge itself. It takes a thought process to make a decision to send a message to the muscles to move causing a human finger to pull the trigger to fire the weapon. The firearm is a tool and only a tool. The danger is lingering in the minds of the mentally ill.

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