Man arrested in ax attack in Janesville

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staff, Gazette
Monday, April 15, 2013

— Authorities have arrested a Janesville man suspected of attacking two people with an ax late Saturday near downtown Janesville, police said.

Janesville police report that officers have taken Jeffrey J. Starkman, 34, of Janesville, into custody early Sunday on two counts of attempted intentional homicide after searching for him overnight.

Police believe Starkman used an ax in a violent attack at an apartment at 419 S. Main St. that left a man and a woman hospitalized with serious, but “non-life threatening” injuries, according to reports.

Police said an investigation revealed the attack was not a “random act,” and that Starkman and the woman were involved in a “domestic relationship.”

Police said one of the victims lives at the apartment where the attack took place. According to online court records, Starkman as of April 5 was living at 2521 Bond Place, Janesville.

The woman and the man attacked have not been identified. Police in a report released early Sunday said the woman called 911 to report that Starkman had attacked her and a “male companion” with an ax, and that Starkman had then fled on foot.

Police have not released an exact motive for the attack, and it's not clear whether others may have witnessed or heard the attack, but Janesville police Sgt. Charles Aagaard said Starkman forced his way into the apartment before the attack.

Both the man and woman had non-life threatening injuries from the attack, although the man underwent surgery overnight. They’re listed at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville, in “guarded condition” at an area hospital, according to police reports.

Police had cordoned off a city block around the area of South Main Street and Oakland Avenue shortly after the attack, which happened around 10 p.m. Saturday.

A tactical police team of officers from the Janesville Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office conducted a manhunt of the neighborhood using foot patrols, police vehicles and K-9 dogs to scour the area for Starkman.

In a news release from the Janesville Police Department early Sunday, police said they were still searching for Starkman, and that he was being considered armed and dangerous, and at the time, authorities believed he may have been on foot or in late model Oldsmobile car.

Later Sunday morning officers spotted Starkman driving a vehicle eastbound on Racine Street toward Interstate 39/90. Police tried to stop his vehicle, but Starkman fled south on I39/90 and led officers on a chase south on Interstate 39/90 before he pulled off at the Milwaukee Road exit at Beloit, Janesville police Sgt. Charles Aagaard said.

Aagaard said police found Starkman in the parking lot of a truck stop along Milwaukee Road, and took him into custody. In addition to attempted homicide, Starkman also was arrested for fleeing police and burglary.

Aagaard said police arrested Starkman for burglary because he forced entry to the victim's apartment to commit a crime.

The scene of the attack Saturday was tense as police along South Main Street cordoned off the area. Officers armed with tactical assault weapons shouted to residents to get inside their homes as they combed yards looking for Starkman, who they feared was armed and dangerous.

It's not clear whether Starkman carried off the ax police believe he used in the attack, or if police were able to recover the weapon.

Police earlier had discovered the victims inside an apartment conscious but bleeding with serious head injuries, Janesville police Sgt. Jim Holford said.

One officer in a police radio dispatch urged paramedics to hurry to the scene after apparently discovering the man had three gaping ax wounds on his head.

Last updated: 9:58 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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