FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WBAY) - Sheriff John Matz says a man killed in a run-in with the Winnebago County SWAT team was wanted for questioning about a series of armed burglaries around the area after a firearm linked to the burglaries was found in his car after he fled officers.
The man isn't being identified until his relatives have been notified about his death.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Matz squarely blamed the man for putting "into motion a series of events" that led to his shooting death when the SWAT team came to take him into custody. The MEG drug unit had requested the SWAT team's assistance because of the subject's history of violence, and neighbors were alerted to shelter in place while they made the arrest.
Twelve members of the multi-jurisdictional SWAT team were present. Matz says four were involved in the shooting.
Sheriff Matz says the man had a felony arrest warrant in Outagamie County for an incident in Grand Chute last July. He was suspected of dealing meth and nearly struck a squad car as he fled from officers. He was also wanted on a warrant from the state Department of Corrections issued in July for a parole violation.
Then there was a recent incident in Neenah where the suspect's car struck a gas meter, then hit a squad car with enough force to trigger eight airbags in the squad car. The car was later found in the Town of Vinland, along with a stolen handgun tied to several armed burglaries in Brown County.
Investigators gathered information that he was in a home on the 800-block of Grove Street, where the shooting happened after 7:30 Tuesday night. Matz said the man had a weapon.
"Within minutes of the SWAT team arriving, an officer-involved shooting occurred involving several members of the multi-jurisdictional Sheriff's Office SWAT Team," Sheriff Matz told Action 2 News Tuesday. Matz told us several shots were fired.
The sheriff declined to elaborate on what the suspect did leading to him being shot. He expects that information will come out after the investigation is complete.
Matz said the officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, which is common practice after these incidents.
"The time necessary to complete this investigation will be lengthy as the use of deadly force involved several officers and will include the review of body-worn and squad camera video footage," the sheriff said.
He says all of the information gathered from the scene has been handed over to the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.
The Department of Justice investigation is required by a law that says outside law enforcement agencies must investigate officer-involved shootings.
We're told any additional information about this incident will be released by the DOJ. Eventually, their findings will be turned over to the district attorney to decide if the shooting was justified or if laws were broken.
Dave Korth, who lives on the opposite end of Grove St. from Tuesday night's shooting, wasn't home during the incident but tells Action 2 News he noticed two cars parked on his street for hours.
Korth told us he spoke with the driver of one of the cars, who said they were doing surveillance, and Korth said he offered his driveway for the cars since he was leaving for the evening.
"I knew something bad was going to happen because just the looks, you know, what was going on, all of the vehicles," Korth said about the scene when he returned Tuesday night.
The sheriff's office would not confirm they had the suspect under surveillance, but they did say authorities had been actively looking for the man following the crimes in Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.