WAUKESHA -- An investigation is underway after a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened early Sunday, Feb. 10 near Prairie Park.
According to police, officers were in the area of School Drive and Prairie Avenue around 12:30 a.m. looking for a suspect involved in a forgery case. The suspect had been communicating with an officer on the phone, and that officer was trying to get the suspect to turn himself in to police, but the suspect refused to respond to the police department. While officers responded to check for the suspect, information was relayed that the suspect was threatening to slit his wrists.
An officer located the suspect walking on School Drive near Prairie Avenue. Upon making contact, police said the suspect immediately pulled a knife and threatened the officer. The officer attempted to diffuse the situation by creating distance and using verbal commands, but the suspect ignored all orders to comply. Police said the suspect charged at the officer, and the officer feared the suspect was going to stab him.
Police said the officer was forced to shoot the suspect to stop the threat. The suspect was struck four times in his chest area. Two back-up officers arrived, and the three officers stabilized the suspect and rendered first aid. No officers or civilians were injured.
The suspect was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
"Shocking. Completely shocking to see that happen here in this area. It's become almost like the OK Corral out here," said Roberto Villarreal, who works at the factory just across the field. "You expect that where there is high crime. You don't expect that out here, where people keep to themselves."
Police said the suspect, a 55-year-old man, stood 6'3" tall and weighed more than 300 pounds, with a large build. Police said he was a felony offender with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for battery, burglary, theft, fraud, disorderly conduct and battery to a peace officer.
Police have not identified the suspect nor the officer involved. Police said that officer, who has more than five years of experience, was placed on paid administrative leave per policy. Chief Russell Jack said in a statement the officer "risked his life to fulfill the mission statement of the Waukesha Police Department, a pledge to serve with integrity, honor and courage."
"I just can't believe -- you can't find nowhere safe anymore," said Villarreal.
The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team is leading the investigation in collaboration with the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office.