Appleton man charged in connection with armed standoff on church roof

James Cooper
James Cooper(Outagamie Co Jail)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 3:36 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The man involved in a standoff on the roof of St. Bernadette’s Parish was charged Monday.

James Cooper, 33, faces charges of recklessly endangering safety, bail jumping, disorderly conduct and possession of a firearm-adjudicated delinquent of a felony.

Police responded to calls to S. Matthias Street at 10:13 Thursday morning about a man who pointed a gun at someone and then at himself.

According to a criminal complaint, Officer Woelfel saw Cooper crouched on the roof with a gun in his hand after hearing a loud gunshot.

Lt. Meghan Cash says the 33-year-old man was in crisis, “having a very bad day.”

Cooper said the incident began Wednesday, May 11 around the time of his mother’s birthday and date she committed suicide a year prior.

He told police he went to Iris Place, located in St. Bernadette’s Parish, to get away on May 13. He was told to pack his belongings and leave after three days at Iris Place. He proceeded to point a gun at his head and at a female staff member. Staff reported aggressive behavior from Cooper, including swearing and yelling.

Cooper said he fired a shot into the air, climbed to the roof and fired another shot into the air on May 19.

Woelfel reported seeing staff and elderly people exiting the building. He advised them to return inside, since Cooper could see them if he looked over the side of the roof.

According to Anderson, Cooper said he got his gun from his home after he thought he was likely to be kicked out of Iris Place.

SWAT personnel from around the Fox Valley secured a perimeter around the scene during the standoff. Woelfel said Cooper was cooperative with SWAT team members taking him into custody.

Johnston Elementary and Appleton East High schools went into lockdown, and people nearby were advised to shelter in place. The location is near Thompson Center on Lourdes, Options for Independent Living, and a residential area. Once Cooper was in custody, police arranged a controlled release of approximately 15 school children.

According to Cooper, he shot the gun to get law enforcement to respond and for someone to understand his situation. Cooper told Officer Anderson he did not want to hurt anyone, including himself.

Cooper is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to being an adjudicated delinquent of physical abuse of a child.

No one was hurt.

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