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One suspect killed, officer injured at Beloit bowling alley

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
November 7, 2011
— Authorities are investigating a shooting at a Beloit bowling alley early Sunday that left one man dead and a town of Beloit police officer hospitalized.

According to news releases from the Town of Beloit Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, a town of Beloit police officer responded to a large crowd in the parking lot at Rex Lanes, 2547 Park Ave., at 1:43 a.m. Sunday.


The officer called for additional police at the scene. As he was exiting his squad car, he heard gunshots, and he saw a male firing a handgun, according to town of Beloit police.


The department reported that multiple shots were fired, and officers from the city of Beloit and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office assisted.


A town of Beloit police officer and a male suspect were both wounded in the shooting and were transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital.


The officer was hospitalized Sunday with a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The male suspect had fatal wounds and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to authorities.


The names of the officer and the suspect and details of the shooting have not been released.


In an interview Sunday, Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp said he was not in a position to confirm whether the officer who was shot had fired his gun in the incident.


Kopp also said he could not confirm whether the male who was reportedly shooting a handgun when police arrived was the person killed.


The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting, and authorities from the Town of Beloit Police Department, the city of Beloit Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office are assisting.


Kopp said the Department of Justice took the lead on the investigation at his request.


He called the move “pretty standard procedure” and said he chose the agency because it has more resources and is better equipped to investigate shooting crimes than a municipal or county police agency.


“We’ve got limited resources, so there’s only so much that we can do,” Kopp said.


Kopp said state investigators have asked him not to release any information on the shootings. He indicated there are no circumstances linked to the shooting that would have prevented the town of Beloit or other agencies involved from taking the lead on the investigation.


Rex Lanes is a 32-lane bowling alley with two bars. One of the bars is enclosed and can hold more than 300 patrons, according to a Beloit Daily News report.


Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Rock County Sheriff’s Office at (608) 757-7925 or the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, at (608) 266-1671.


Gazette reporter Frank Schultz contributed to this report.

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