Michael Brogan was working late Thursday night when he heard sirens and then gunshots outside the family’s Elkhorn business, Brogan & Patrick Manufacturing, his parents said.
Brogan took shelter moments before a small SUV crashed through the side of the building, smashing the desk where he had been sitting, they told The Gazette.
Jean and Michael Brogan Sr. described the incident Friday as they finished cleaning up the mess left behind.
The man driving the car had been shot and killed by a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy at about 10 p.m. Thursday in Elkhorn, according to a Walworth County sheriff’s office news release.
The deputy had responded to a call of a reckless driver coming from Waukesha County. Deputies located the driver and attempted a traffic stop at Highway 12/67 and Potter Road north of Elkhorn. The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated, according to the release.
During an attempt to stop the vehicle, the vehicle came to a stop and the deputy exited his squad car. The driver drove toward the deputy, and the deputy shot his weapon and struck the driver, according to the release.
The vehicle then careened through the wall of the Brogan & Patrick Manufacturing, 515 E. Centralia St., Elkhorn.
The driver died at the scene, according to the release.
Jean and Michael Brogan Sr. told The Gazette that after the vehicle crashed into the building, their son came out of his hiding spot with his hands up, telling police he wasn’t involved.
Police told their son the driver of the vehicle was dead, they said.
The vehicle had missed a row of trees and bushes along the parking lot and crashed through the wall between two steel beams, they said.
“It’s a mess,” Brogan Sr. said. “We got a lot of damage. The wall is screwed up, inside is screwed up, (the car) went through some of the machines.”
George Cibon works across the street as marketing director at Millenium Forms. He told The Gazette the area around the building was blocked off by police Friday morning.
Officials removed the vehicle from the building at 7 or 8 a.m. Friday, Cibon said.
Jean and Michael Brogan Sr. described the vehicle as a small SUV.
James Ropinski lives nearby. He told WITI-TV he saw flashing lights, stepped outside onto his deck to find out what was happening and heard gunfire.
“I heard five shots. And then I came back inside, worrying about my welfare. And then the Department of Justice came and talked to me. And I didn’t know exactly what was happening. I mean, I knew something big was happening with the police presence,” Ropinski said.
The driver, who is not identified in the release, was the only occupant of the vehicle, according to the release.
The deputy, who was not identified in the release, has been placed on administrative duty.
The state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Medical Examiner are investigating the incident.
The Walworth County District Attorney’s Office also participates in the investigatory process and will conduct a legal analysis of the shooting. Once concluded, the shooting will be reviewed by the sheriff’s office Use of Force Committee, according to the release.
Eighth fatal shooting since 2010
The shooting Thursday night is the eighth fatal shooting by law enforcement in Walworth County since 2010.
Below are details about those shootings, from most recent to oldest, according to police records obtained by The Gazette, previous reporting and decision letters from the district attorney’s office:
Oct. 18, 2018: A Walworth County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man in a vehicle after responding to a report of a reckless driver.
The vehicle was located at Highway 12/67 and Potter Road near the Elkhorn city limits, and a pursuit followed.
During an attempt to stop the vehicle, the vehicle came to a stop, and the deputy exited his squad car. The driver allegedly drove toward the deputy, and the deputy shot his weapon and struck the driver, who died at the scene, according to a news release.
Feb. 2, 2017: Kris Kristl was shot and killed after he pointed what was later discovered to be a BB gun toward sheriff’s Deputy Jesse Smith and Elkhorn police officer Robert Rayfield, according to a May 5 letter from Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld.
Wiedenfeld wrote he would not be charging Smith or Rayfield, saying they were “justified in using deadly force” because they “reasonably” perceived a threat.
A “concerned citizen” had called 911 and reported a car that Kristl was driving was doing so erratically, Wiedenfeld wrote. The car was crossing over the center line and veering onto the unpaved shoulder of the road, the caller reported.
Kristl’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.26.
Kristl’s car eventually came to a stop. Smith then arrived and asked to speak with Kristl and the passenger in his car, Wiedenfeld wrote. While Smith spoke to the passenger, Kristl was pacing with his hands in his pockets.
Kristl began to walk away from Smith, which led Smith to grab Kristl by the arm, Wiedenfeld wrote. Kristl then pulled out “what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun” and pointed it at Smith’s face, the letter reads.
Smith and Kristl struggled over the BB gun until the two separated, Wiedenfeld wrote. Rayfield arrived and they both shot Kristl after he pointed the BB gun in the officers’ direction.
Kristl suffered five gunshot wounds to his head, chest, right upper arm, right thigh and right upper buttock, according to a state Department of Criminal Investigation case report.
Feb. 24, 2016: Christopher Davis, 21, of Milwaukee, was shot by sheriff’s Deputy Juan Ortiz when the driver of a vehicle Davis was riding in failed to follow commands from law enforcement during a drug investigation, according to police.
As law enforcement came to Roma’s Ristorante and Lounge, East Troy, Ortiz entered the parking lot and moved near the exit to avoid potential crossfire after he saw an officer draw his weapon and say, “show me your hands,” according to a July 19, 2016, decision from then-District Attorney Dan Necci who said the shooting was justified.
The driver, Jose Lara, saw police and accelerated the car toward the exit, and Ortiz fired his weapon while moving out of the way, Necci wrote.
After the first or second shot, Ortiz saw the car deviate from its path toward him, but the car still drove close enough to where he could have touched the driver’s side mirror, Necci wrote.
One of Ortiz’s shots hit Davis in the head. Davis was riding in the front passenger seat. Ortiz later told investigators he’d heard the car’s tires squeal and engine rev, and he felt his life would have been in danger if he had not acted.
After a chase at speeds exceeding 100 mph ended in Muskego, Davis was found in the car and taken to Froedtert Hospital, where he died an hour later.
Lara pleaded not guilty July 11 to felony counts of conspiracy to deliver cocaine and attempting to flee a traffic officer. He is scheduled for a jury trial June 26 and 27.
Jan. 8, 2016: Two town of Geneva police officers shot Eric C. Olsen, 26, of the town of Geneva, after he used an ax to chop through a bedroom window and ran at police with a hunting knife, according to reports.
Officers Eric Anderson and Jason Sweeney were among officers who responded to a report of Olsen using an ax to chop through a juvenile’s bedroom window on West Lincoln Drive, town of Geneva.
Olsen reportedly told the homeowner he was “going to cut his head off” with a 4-foot ax. The homeowner and his son, armed with a metal crow bar and a hammer, respectively, called 911.
Officers arrived as the homeowner and Olsen were struggling with each other, according to reports.
Sweeney had a .223-caliber rifle and Anderson had a handgun. The two reportedly told Olsen “multiple times” to drop the 4-inch hunting knife he pulled out, according to witness interviews included in the report.
Olsen yelled expletives at the officers and said, “Shoot me,” and “I want to die,” while “waving the knife around,” according to a May 11, 2016, letter from Necci, who ruled the officers shot Olsen in self-defense.
Necci said the two officers fired a combined 11 shots.
Officers immediately performed life-saving measures and called EMS for Olsen, according to the report.
Olsen’s family disagreed with Necci’s decision.
“We are deeply saddened by the contents of these reports as we do not believe that they fully reflect the circumstances of the shooting, nor the events leading up to it,” Olsen’s parents, Chris and Betty Olsen, said in a written statement May 11, 2016.
June, 13, 2013: Necci cleared four Walworth County sheriff’s deputies in the shooting of Jeremiah B. Krubert, 39, Elkhorn, who was suspected of beating his mother’s boyfriend with a pipe, stealing a squad car and threatening deputies with a shotgun.
Deputies Todd Neumann, Jeffery Shaw, Wayne Blanchard and Garth Frami responded to a home invasion call at N7248 County O, Elkhorn. The home belonged to Krubert’s mother and her boyfriend.
Neumann arrived as Krubert was trying to leave in his mother’s boyfriend’s truck, according to Necci’s Aug. 6, 2013, letter. Krubert approached Neumann “holding a large blade knife in a threatening manner,” before Neumann shot at Krubert an “unknown number of times.”
Krubert kept approaching and began to say “Kill me, kill me,” as Neumann’s gun “experienced a mechanical failure,” Necci wrote.
Krubert then got into Neumann’s squad car and drove off.
Shaw, Blanchard and Frami pursued Krubert and found he had smashed into farm equipment.
Krubert then exited the stolen squad car with a shotgun from the squad when Shaw saw Krubert “appearing to attempt to chamber a round.” The three deputies fired their rifles and Krubert fell to the ground, according to documents.
Krubert died at the scene.
Court records indicated Krubert had a history of mental illness and previous arrests. Krubert claimed to have had a troubled childhood, according to probation records.
When asked to describe himself, Krubert wrote: “Healthy, athletic, generally good person, with a mental illness that has led me to behave criminally and ruined my life.”
Jan. 21, 2013: Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Lagle fatally shot Alfredo Emilio Villarreal, 18, of Janesville, who was a hospitalized jail inmate. He reportedly used a chair to try and smash the window and hit Lagle.
Villarreal had been arrested on suspicion of parole violation and in the early morning of Jan. 21, he was taken to the Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, Elkhorn, after staff found him unconscious in his cell, according to a March 22, 2013, Necci letter, which said Lagle was justified in using deadly force.
Later that evening, Villarreal was unshackled so he could use the bathroom. When Lagle went to re-shackle Villarreal, the teen kicked Lagle in the face and started punching him in the head, according to documents.
Lagle called for backup and the fight moved from Villarreal’s room to the hallway. Lagle tried to use his Taser but missed, Necci wrote.
Villarreal went back to his room and started banging a plastic and metal chair on his window to escape.
The teen then charged at Lagle with the chair.
“Fearing for his safety and the safety of others in the hospital,” Lagle fired five shots, Necci wrote. Three of the shots hit Villarreal in the torso.
The teen died at the scene.
May 5, 2012: Deputy Wayne Blanchard shot and killed John W. Brown, 22, after his mother called 911 because Brown was suicidal and had locked himself in his room with a knife.
Sheriff’s deputy Christopher Such, armed with a Taser, was standing behind Blanchard before the two kicked down the door and entered Brown’s room, according to court documents.
Blanchard argued in court documents that Brown approached the two deputies with a knife. Blanchard fired two shots and killed Brown, according to documents.
Brown’s mother, Nancy Brown, settled a lawsuit Jan. 23 against the county for $1.1 million. In the settlement, the county and Blanchard denied any misconduct.
Nancy Brown was on the couch in the living room when the shooting took place, and the deputies were in or near John Brown’s bedroom, according to court documents.
“This was an individual who was looking for help. It was a cry for help,” Antonio Romanucci, Nancy Brown’s attorney on the lawsuit, said in February. “He should have been brought under control. He should have been brought to a hospital, brought to a doctor … This was a case on an emotional disturbance. Rather than being treated accordingly, he was treated with force, and he died unnecessarily.”
Brown suffered from bipolar disorder, according to the complaint filed by his mother.
July 13, 2010: Another suicidal subject, Roman Petriw, was shot by law enforcement after he failed to follow orders to drop his weapon, according to reports.
Then-District Attorney Phil Koss decided sheriff’s Deputy Scott Smith and town of Geneva officers Ken Mulhollon and Jason Sweeney acted in self-defense after their incident with Petriw.
Law enforcement was called to a residence where the property owner said Petriw was suicidal, according to reports. Officers and deputies found Petriw with two handguns.
Law enforcement officers told Petriw to drop the guns, but he instead shot himself in the torso, according to reports. He then dropped the guns, but then reached for the weapons.
Smith, Mulhollon and Sweeney then shot Petriw.
Smith reported hearing an officer saying “Don’t do it,” right before officers shot Petriw.
A childhood friend of Petriw’s, Lucian J. Lange, was going to take Petriw to a homeless shelter in Chicago on the morning of the shooting, but the two argued and Petriw pulled his two guns, according to previous reporting.