MILWAUKEE — A West Allis man accused of firing a handgun at some good Samaritans on the Hawley Road off-ramp from I-94 westbound on Aug. 6 pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Austin Fountaine, 22, was in court Tuesday for his arraignment, during which he entered the special NGI plea. A competency evaluation was ordered to support the NGI plea.
The defense then requested to be heard on bail, and the court denied the request to modify bail.
A status conference was scheduled for Sept. 19.
Fountaine faces the following criminal charges:
- Endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon (discharge firearm into vehicle or building)
- Possession of a firearm contrary to injunction
According to the criminal complaint, officers were dispatched to westbound I-94 at Hawley Road for a shots fired complaint on Aug. 6. Three witnesses in a tow truck apparently saw a silver vehicle go off the road at the ramp. They pulled over to see if the operator of the vehicle needed assistance. The complaint said those witnesses observed a man exit the vehicle “and run across the ramp and disappear behind a group of bushes. Those witnesses then heard three gunshots in slow succession.”
Officers spoke with the reported victims of this shooting incident (who were in a blue vehicle). They saw the tow truck pull up behind the silver vehicle — and slowed down. One witness “rolled down the passenger window and asked the male subject if he needed help or a ride.” That witness told police “the male subject then fired a handgun at him and his vehicle.” The vehicle sped off, but not before the witness vehicle was struck by gunfire. Officers noted “a bullet hole in the passenger front quarter panel, and a hole in the front driver’s side tire.”
“He fired, like, eight to 10 shots,” said Zachary Blavat. “We both got down as fast as we could.”
Blavat was in the passenger seat of the blue vehicle.
“My brother rolls down my window,” said Blavat. “He’s like, ‘Are you alright? Do you need help?’ We see him pull something out of his waistband. We went four, five blocks down. That’s all we could go with a popped tire.”
Investigators used the registration on the silver vehicle to track down Fountaine at his apartment — where he was taken into custody. He “admitted to shooting at the blue Pontiac.” Fountaine apparently told police “throughout the night, he had observed multiple cars following him on the freeway. He stated that an Escalade and a Ford had followed him that evening, and he had observed handguns coming out.” The complaint said Fountaine “stated that after he crashed, he saw the blue vehicle wind up and attempt to hit him on the ramp. He stated that the passengers of the blue car were ‘mugging’ him, and he fired his gun at it three times.”
“I was scared,” said Blavat. “I don’t know how to explain it.”
Fountaine told police “after the shooting, he went home, showered, relaxed, and called a buddy to help him dispose of the firearm. He stated that his friend drove him to Lake Michigan, and then tossed the gun into the lake.”
The criminal complaint said officers listened in on a jail call made by Fountaine to his mother on Aug. 6. In the phone call, the complaint said Fountaine stated “that either ‘they’ were going to die, or he was going to die, meaning the people he shot at. He stated that they were lucky they walked away with their lives, because he was trying to kill them.”
Online court records showed at the time of this alleged incident, Fountaine was in violation of a court order following a domestic violence incident in May.