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West Allis man’s wife, children witnessed his murder; suspect later shot by officers near DeForest

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DEFOREST -- Law enforcement officials on Monday afternoon, May 2nd in DeForest hosted a news conference to discuss an incident that began with a murder in West Allis, and culminated with an officer-involved shooting that occurred on I-90/94 near DeForest on Sunday, May 1st. Officials are asking that anyone who was driving on I-90/94 on Sunday afternoon who may have witnessed something that could help in this investigation to call authorities.

News conference in DeForest after officer-involved shooting on I-90/94

News conference in DeForest after officer-involved shooting on I-90/94

"A lot of people probably saw something on Sunday -- whether in Dane County or Sauk County or Columbia County. The more people to call in and share information, the better," Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said.

This all began around 7:00 a.m. Sunday, when West Allis police were dispatched to a four-unit apartment building near 92nd and Lincoln for a report of an individual forcibly entering at least two apartments.

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Officers arrived on-scene, secured the area and during their search of the building, found a man with a gunshot wound. Officials with the West Allis Fire Department attempted treatment, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gabriel Sanchez

Gabriel Sanchez

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez of West Allis.

Officers searched the apartment building and no other victims, nor the suspect, were located.

Neighbors told FOX6 News Sanchez and the suspect both lived in the building. The suspect reportedly lived upstairs, and Sanchez lived on the first floor.

FOX6 News has learned Sanchez's wife and children witnessed his murder. A fund has been set up for his funeral and burial.

Following this murder, a manhunt ensued for the suspect -- with police on scene in West Allis for most of the day. The area near 92nd and Lincoln was reopened to traffic nearly 12 hours after police first arrived at the scene.


During the course of the investigation into the homicide, police learned that a person of interest in the shooting was associated with Epikos Church on West Greenfield Avenue.

Police received information indicating the person of interest had made threatening statements regarding a member of the church. West Allis officers responded to the church to provide information to church officials and ensure the safety of church members.

No criminal activity occurred at Epikos Church.

Officials say around 2:45 p.m., there was a drive-by shooting in Sauk County on I-90/94 near Mile Marker 95.

According to Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister, a preliminary investigation has revealed that a 43-year-old man was traveling with his 44-year-old wife and two minor children -- headed eastbound on 90/94, traveling home to Illinois after visiting the Dells, when the driver of a 1998 Chevy Blazer rolled down the window and fired three rounds into the vehicle.

The Blazer then continued eastbound on 90/94, with a witness to the drive-by shooting following the suspect vehicle.

Sheriff Meister said the first round fired into the vehicle containing the family from Illinois struck the passenger side door and was then lodged in the door.

The second round entered the front passenger side of the vehicle and struck the driver's wife in the neck.

The third round was fired into the hood of the vehicle.

The children and driver weren't hurt.

The driver's 44-year-old wife was taken to a hospital in Baraboo and then transferred to UW Hospital in Madison by MedFlight.

Just before 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Columbia County Sheriff's officials received a report of a vehicle headed eastbound on 90/94 at a high rate of speed. At the same time, Columbia County Sheriff's officials learned from Sauk County officials of the drive-by shooting that had just occurred in Sauk County.

Columbia County Sheriff's officials were able to obtain a description of the suspect vehicle and a license plate number.

Around 3:10 p.m., a Columbia County Sheriff's deputy and a DNR warden were behind the suspect vehicle on 90/94 at Highway 78. A second deputy joined the pursuit around 3:12 p.m.

Around 3:20 p.m., Dane County Sheriff's deputies deployed stop sticks and the suspect vehicle's front tires went flat.

Around 3:22 p.m., Sheriff Meister said the 20-year-old driver of the suspect vehicle exited the vehicle and walked toward deputies with a firearm in his hand. Meister said he did not listen to commands from law enforcement officials.

He was then shot by two Columbia County Sheriff's deputies -- with 9.5 and 4.5 years of service.

Those deputies have been placed on administrative leave, per policy.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in Madison for treatment.


West Allis police said the suspect who was fired on was the same suspect wanted for the murder in West Allis Sunday morning.

There were two male passengers inside the suspect vehicle, ages 30 and 34, who were not injured in the incident. One was transported to Meriter Hospital as a precaution, where he was treated and released.  Both passengers were then in the custody of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials say the passengers were the brothers of the 20-year-old West Allis man.

90/94 was shut down for hours Sunday.

The investigation into the murder, the drive-by shooting in Sauk County and the officer-involved shooting in Columbia County is ongoing.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office, along with the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Again -- if you were driving on 90/94 on Sunday afternoon -- law enforcement officials want to hear from you.

The telephone number for the Dane County Sheriff's Office's tip line is:  608-284-6900.

Google Map for coordinates 43.002603 by -88.027223.


  • G Man

    I was driving that stretch at the exact same time but I couldn’t help seeing I’m not sure the color of the Blazer

  • Javier Arroyo

    Damn, I go to school with his kids. They’re like my best friends and its sad to see something like this happen. My prayers are with them.

  • anonymous

    Zachary and Jeremy use to work with me… Zachary was such a good kid… Seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders… I guess I was wrong about him smh

Comments are closed.

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