Police officer, 3 others shot dead in small Wisconsin city

Police taped off the Marathon Savings Bank branch that was the location of the first of three shootings in Rothschild, Wis., on Wed., March 22, 2017.


Last Updated Mar 22, 2017 9:41 PM EDT

ROTHSCHILD, Wis. -- Police in northern Wisconsin say an officer and three other people were killed in what apparently began as a domestic dispute in a bank.

Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks said the slain officer was from his department. Sparks did not release the officer’s name. The names of the other three dead also were not released.

Sparks said a suspect was in custody. The suspect was taken into custody after 5 p.m. following a stand off at an apartment building, CBS affiliate WSAW reports.

The shootings happened at a bank, a law firm and an apartment complex, where officers, including a SWAT team, were in a standoff with the suspect late in the afternoon, Wausau police Capt. Todd Baeten said at a news conference. The area is about 90 miles west of Green Bay.

Baeten would not give details of the officer’s injuries or those of other victims. But he said authorities were in contact with the suspect and were trying to engage him. He gave no other details. He said the situation was still active and asked residents to avoid the area.

A SWAT team and other police officers are outside an apartment in northern Wisconsin as police investigate shootings at three locations.

Baeten said the first incident was reported around 12:59 p.m. in an area near Marathon Savings Bank in Rothschild, reports CBS affiliate WSAW. Soon after, officers were called to the second scene about a mile and a half away, near a law firm called Tlusty, Kennedy & Dirks S.C. That incident was followed shortly after by the third shooting, at the Aspen Street Apartments, about two miles away.

Early police reports indicated two people were shot and critically injured, but Baeten wouldn’t confirm the injuries later Wednesday. He says the shootings involved “multiple scenes” and many law officers.

Residents of the Aspen Street Apartments are considered displaced. According to dispatch reports, eight families will receive assistance from the Red Cross, WSAW reports.

A woman who lives in the complex said she looked out her apartment window in the small town of Weston about 1:15 p.m. to see a squad car approach, and a few seconds later heard a gunshot and saw the officer fall. Kelly Hanson, 21, told The Associated Press she saw other officers put the wounded policeman in an armored SWAT vehicle and take him away, but she did not know if he was alive or dead.

“I thought, what is going on? I know what a gun sounds like, and thought ‘This isn’t good,’” Hanson said. She said she stayed in her apartment until about 4:45 p.m. when she heard a volley of about 10 shots and began to “freak out.” Authorities eventually let her leave her apartment.

“It’s tragic that had to happen, but I think they did a good job out here today,” Hanson said.

Dozens of police cars and emergency vehicles responded after the first shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. at Marathon Savings Bank in Rothschild. Officers responding to a reported domestic situation arrived to find two people had been shot.

A second call came about 10 minutes later from the Tlusty, Kennedy and Dirks law firm in nearby Schofield, and then a third report came in at 1:30 p.m. from an apartment complex in Weston.

SWAT members entered the apartment building about 2:30 p.m., the Wausau Daily Herald reported. Nearby schools and a hospital went on lockdown. The lockdowns were later lifted.

Susan Thompson, a resident of the building, told the newspaper she heard gunshots and heard someone scream. As she left her apartment, police called to her to get inside and lock her doors. Thompson, 21, said she had her 2-year-old daughter in the apartment. Officers later came to her door and helped her and her daughter outside, she said.