“I think he hit his breaking point:” Pharmacist speaks out after standoff at New Berlin pharmacy

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NEW BERLIN (WITI) -- A standoff at a New Berlin pharmacy on Wednesday afternoon, July 9th -- after a pharmacist refuses to hand over drugs.

An entire strip mall was placed on lockdown for more than an hour while a SWAT Team surrounded the building.

We're told the suspect had visited the pharmacy before -- but on Wednesday, he came in with a prescription that was dated, and had strange looking writing on it.

The man was turned away, and that's when he became desperate.

"I think he hit his breaking point," Bob Steib said.

Steib was the pharmacist behind the counter when it happened Wednesday afternoon.

A customer came in with a suspicious looking prescription for oxycodone.

"He was kind of upset -- stayed there staring at me for awhile -- didn`t like it. He kept saying 'hey I didn`t do anything wrong,'" Steib said.

The man left -- but returned with a shotgun.

"The few employees that were in there with me got out the front when he came in and all of a sudden he`s like, 'you`re gonna fill my prescription now' and I said 'yes I am' -- so I filled it and hit the security alarm and the police came," Steib said.

As Steib tried to keep the man calm, police set up a perimeter outside and a SWAT Team surrounded the strip mall. Workers at nearby businesses like Vitucci's Pizza were ordered to stay inside.

"We had to tell our customers to stay away because the area is locked down," Frank Vitucci said.

Some neighbors could hear police negotiating with the suspect.

"They were telling him 'come out with your hands up. We won`t hurt you -- we just want to talk to you,'" Erika Lehmkuhl said.

Inside the pharmacy, the man told Steib his weapon wasn't loaded, and handed it over.

"I took the gun and I went out the back door and I said 'that`s enough. Let the police handle it,'" Steib said.

"He was inside the store, barricaded himself and wouldn`t come out -- so we had officers in the front and the back and that`s what took so long negotiating with him to come out," New Berlin Police Captain Mike Glider said.

When officers entered the building, the man surrendered peacefully.

No shots were fired.

Steib says the man seemed frustrated and disturbed, but he says he never felt his life was in danger.

"I didn`t really think he was gonna shoot me, so I wasn`t that worried," Steib said.

Steib says the suspect was frustrated because he had tried to get the prescription filled at other stores and was denied there as well.

He says the man seemed fearful of the police.

The suspect has been taken into custody.

4 comments

  • Someone

    The biggest problem for traffic is that city of Brookfield police stopped traffic in the most awkward of places on sunnyslope rd and around extending the commute time an additional 10-15 minutes because some people were getting stuck in the surrounding neighborhoods trying to get around the mess.

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