ELKHORN -- A Walworth County deputy has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the officer-involved shooting of a man in Elkhorn on Oct. 18, 2018. The deceased was identified as Sean Dutcher.
Records show 38-year-old Dutcher was drunk and had marijuana in his system as he led police on a chase. After driving his vehicle toward officers, Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld says the deputy who fired his weapon at Dutcher, acted within his rights.
Around 9:45 p.m. on Oct. 18, Walworth County dispatched received a transferred 911 call from Waukesha County dispatch. A caller was reporting a reckless driver, later identified as Dutcher, traveling south on Highway 67 -- and about to enter Walworth County.
The called told dispatches the "reckless driver almost side-swiped a tractor trailer and was swerving all over the road." The caller also stated the driver "observed the reckless driver drive through an intersection while almost striking the sign." The caller stayed on the phone with dispatch until a deputy pulled behind the suspect vehicle. Deputies soon found out Dutcher had no intentions of stopping.
"He kept going after a PIT[maneuver]," a deputy can be heard on body camera.
The chase entered Elkhorn, and body camera from 28-year-old Deputy Peter Wisnefsky was rolling.
Deputy Wisnefsky can be heard on body camera saying, "Put your hands up! Put your hands up! Put your hands up!"
Deputies tried to remove Dutcher from his vehicle -- and at one point, Dutcher "quickly accelerated forward" in the direction of Deputy Wisnefsky, who "fired ten rapid shots." Those shots struck Dutcher two times in the chest.
Despite attempting medical treatment, Dutcher died on the scene.
An emotional Wisnefsky was comforted by colleagues.
"I had to step out of the way to not get hit," Wisnefsky can be heard on body camera.
After an independent investigation by the state, the Wiedenfeld says Wisnefsky was justified in using deadly force to protect himself and the other law enforcement officers.
Deputy Wisnefsky has been restored to full duty while the internal review of this matter continues.
The investigation is complete by the Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The reports are available on the Department of Justice website: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dci/officer-involved-critical-incident