Appleton, WI. Police Officer and Bystander Shot, Suspect Dead – Update from Chief Thomas on Appleton Shooting

Update from Chief Thomas on Appleton Shooting

Appleton Police Department

Below is a copy of the information that was provided during the press conference held at the Appleton Police Department on 5/28/16 at 1:30 p.m. 

It is very important to point out that what I am about to give you is all preliminary information and based on what we have been told at this time.

First of all we want thank all the members of the community and our extended police family that have come forward this morning and supported the victim officer, the good Samaritans who came to her aid, and our entire department. The outpouring of support from the community and our brothers and sisters in law enforcement has been overwhelming.

Last evening at around 10:37pm, we responded to a theft of cigarettes at the Mobil Gas station at 2811 E. Newberry Street. The attendant provided a detailed description of the suspect who had fled the store before we arrived. We were unable to locate the suspect at that time.

At approximately 12:04 A.M., we responded to another call of a theft of cigarettes at the Moto Mart Gas Station at 320 S. Kensington Drive. The description of the suspect provided by the attendant matched the description provided from the earlier theft complaint.

Officers were dispatched to the complaint and one of our officers located a male matching that description walking in the 900 block of Kensington Drive. The officer attempted to stop the male and he refused to stop or obey orders. At some point the male eventually turned around and approached the officer.

The officer got out of her squad car and tried to control the suspect using verbal commands. The suspect did not comply and continued to come at her. She disengaged and moved backwards and attempted to use other control options, including her Taser, to try and control the suspect. The male suspect continued his assault and attacked the officer and attempted to disarm her. The officer and the male fought violently for control of her firearm.
Two men in a passing car saw the fight and stopped behind the officer’s squad car and got out to help. At this point the suspect was able to disarm the officer and fired at her, striking her one time in the hip area. The male than fired additional rounds towards the citizens who had stopped to assist her and one of them was struck in the upper chest area.

According to multiple independent witnesses to the event the male suspect then shot himself in the head. The male suspect died at the scene, the female officer and the male victim were transported to a local hospital where they underwent surgery and are recovering. Their injuries are not life-threatening.
This death was not caused by the direct action, or omission to act, of a police officer. Even though it was not required to be investigated by an outside agency, I felt that our commitment to being transparent would best be fulfilled by having an outside agency investigate the incident for us.

We contacted the Green Bay Police Department and they agreed to do the investigation.

At this point we will not be releasing any of the names of the individuals involved out of respect for their families and to give them time to notify relatives and cope with this situation. We will release their names within the next couple days when it is appropriate.

Once the names are released we will not have any other comments on this incident until the investigation is completed. The Green Bay Police Department will also not comment during the investigation. Once the investigation is complete the Green Bay Police Department will report out its findings and the report will be available for the public once the case is closed.

• Our condolences go out to the family of the male subject who is deceased, we know they are also victims of this tragedy.

• The APD family wants to thank the good citizens who stopped to aid the officer in need; they are another shining example of what is great about Appleton.

• And to our officer that was involved; you know how much we all love you, you are like a sister or daughter to us; we are very proud of how you fought and survived this brutal attack. You and your family will constantly be in our thoughts and prayers and thank you for being a shining example of what is great about law enforcement, a willingness to put it all on the line in the service of others.

I’ll end with saying that is chiseled on the walls of too many memorials across this country because of incidents like this: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

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