In video taken around 4:55 p.m., shots ring out at the site of a police standoff in Rothschild. Wochit (Photo: T’xer Zhon Kha/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
ROTHSCHILD, Wis. — An Everest Metro police officer and three other people were killed in a shooting spree Wednesday afternoon.
Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks confirmed the deaths at a press conference shortly after 8 p.m. CT Wednesday. The shooter was in police custody, Sparks said. He declined to release names of those involved pending notification of family.
Wausau Police Capt. Todd Baeten first confirmed in an afternoon press conference that a police officer had been shot. Baeten could not confirm the officer’s identity.
Shortly before 5 p.m., Baeten said officers were communicating with the suspect at the Aspen Street Apartments complex.
A USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reporter at the scene said she heard numerous loud sounds consistent with gunshots at roughly 4:55 p.m., and within 15 minutes an ambulance had sped away from the scene with its lights flashing and siren sounding, and police began to leave. The standoff appeared to have ended.
The first report came to Rothschild police at 12:27 p.m., when they were called to the Marathon Savings Bank "in reference to a domestic situation," according to a Rothschild press release. Two people were found with gunshot wounds there. The suspect was gone when officers arrived.
Baeten on Wednesday afternoon said shots were then reported around 1:10 p.m. from the nearby law firm Tlusty, Kennedy and Dirks. A third call came at 1:30 p.m. from the Aspen Street Apartments complex, where most law enforcement then converged.
Numerous law enforcement vehicles and SWAT teams respond to shooter Wednesday at an apartment complex on the corner of Aspen Street and Ross Avenue in Weston. A police officer and at least two others were shot.
"While (officers were) on the scene it was reported shots were fired there, as well," Baeten said, referring to the apartments.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m., SWAT teams entered an apartment building at Aspen Street and Ross Avenue, according to a reporter at the scene. Soon after, a resident there saw police ushering people, including children, out of the building. A USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reporter saw SWAT team members and two bomb robots.
Susan Thompson, a resident of the apartment building, said she heard gunshots and heard someone scream. As she left her apartment, police called to her to get inside and lock her doors. Officers later helped her and her daughter outside, Thompson said.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is in charge of the ongoing investigation. More than 100 law enforcement officers from the region were investigating the three different crime scenes, said Jason Smith, deputy administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation, on Wednesday evening.
"These events affect more than just the people involved. They really affect entire communities," Smith said.
The officer killed Wednesday is at least the fourth from Marathon County to be fatally shot in the line of duty.
At least three officers in the county previously had been shot to death while on duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that memorializes the thousands of American police officers killed in the line of duty. One of those shootings was accidental.
The Everest Metro officer who died Wednesday is the 278th Wisconsin officer killed while on duty and the 130th to have been fatally shot. He is the seventh on-duty officer shot to death in the United States this year.
Contributing: Doug Schneider, Nora G. Hertel and Jonathan Anderson, USA TODAY Network-Wisconsin. Follow Rob Mentzer, Arielle Hines and Laura Schulte on Twitter: @robertmentzer, @theariellehines and @ShulteLaura
Shootings in three locations Wednesday afternoon shocked the Wausau area.