APPLETON — A man who got in a gunfight with police that left a city firefighter dead in the crossfire was identified Friday as a Wausau man who had been free on bond pending drug charges.
Ruben Houston, 47, died in the Wednesday evening incident that erupted just minutes after police and emergency personnel were summoned to a bus where Houston was thought to be suffering a possible seizure.
Police said Houston was walking away after receiving treatment when the situation “escalated” and Houston traded gunfire with officers.
Mitchell F. Lundgaard, 36, a 14-year veteran firefighter, was shot and died of his injuries at a hospital. It’s not clear who fired the shot that killed him.
Officer Paul Christensen was also hit, but was treated and released from a hospital. A bystander, Brittany Schowalter, 30, was shot and remained in a hospital Friday.
Both Christensen and Sgt. Christopher Biese fired at least one shot, police said. They said the total number of rounds would be determined through a continuing investigation being led by the Green Bay Police Department.
Court records show that Houston was free on bond pending charges in Fond du Lac County of possession of drugs with intent to sell. He also faced two counts of disorderly conduct in Marathon County.
The Post-Crescent of Appleton reported that Houston’s criminal record shows convictions for firearms possession, drug possession and other felonies dating to 1990. Other charges included fleeing an officer in 1990; robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1991 in Milwaukee County; and possession of a firearm in 1996, also in Milwaukee, according to the Post-Crescent. He served at least two stints in federal prison.
Lundgaard was the first Appleton firefighter in 86 years to die in the line of duty.
Monetary support for Lundgaard’s wife and three children was streaming into a GoFundMe website. Wisconsin native and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to the fund, which was more than halfway toward a $250,000 goal by Friday. Watt’s father is a retired firefighter.