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D.A. set to review shooting by deputy

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
February 2, 2010
— The Walworth County District Attorney’s Office will review the shooting of a La Grange Township man Friday night by a sheriff’s deputy.

"We look to see whether or not the officer was privileged in using self-defense, whether the officer or somebody else's life was in danger such that they needed to respond with deadly force," District Attorney Phil Koss said.


Sheriff David Graves said hospital officials told him Mark S. Beaver, 48, remained in critical condition Monday.


Deputy Wayne Blanchard shot Beaver after a report at 10:37 p.m. of a disturbance at W4961 Rice Road, according to the Walworth County Sheriff's Office.


Deputies went to the home and found Beaver and a woman inside. Beaver held a gun to his head in front of deputies, and also pointed it toward the woman, Graves said.


Deputies asked Beaver to drop the gun, but he pointed it toward a deputy taking cover behind a tree, Graves said. Beaver fired one shot.


Blanchard returned fire, hitting Beaver twice.


Blanchard is on administrative duty pending review of the incident by the district attorney's office.


Koss said Monday he had not yet to seen police reports.


The district attorney’s office has the final word on the review of the shooting unless Beaver dies. In that case, an inquest jury could be called to decide if deadly force was warranted.


Graves on Monday said the incident justified use of deadly force by the deputy, and he predicted the district attorney's review would find the same.


"It was self-defense; the officer was in imminent danger," Graves said.


The weekend incident was the third Walworth County shooting incident in about a month and the second that prompted sheriff's deputies to fire back at a suspect:


-- Jan. 17—Eugene J. Lehman, 45, of Sharon is accused of becoming violent and hauling his wife’s clothes outside and burning them. Deputies shot tear gas into the home, and Lehman fired several shots at police throughout the day, the sheriff said.


Lehman shot himself in the abdomen near the end of the standoff and was taken to Mercy Hospital in Janesville.


-- Dec. 27—Richard L. Sallmann, 49, of Richmond Township is accused of firing several shots at police. The incident began when Sallmann pointed a gun at one of his two daughters, ages 10 and 13, who were with him at the house, according to police.


When Sallmann's son arrived, Sallmann pointed the gun at him, too, and threatened to shoot all three, according to police.


Deputies rescued the daughters from the property around noon.


Sallmann fired several shots at law enforcement throughout the day. One shot came close to hitting a Walworth County deputy though no one was injured.


Deputies fired at Sallmann but didn't hit him.


Koss said the deputy who fired at Sallmann has been reviewed and is back on duty. The DA's office found the shots justifiable, Koss said.



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