FDL PD Update On Standoff

The Fond du Lac Police Department released this update on Monday’s incident in Fond du Lac….

At approximately 9:02A.M. on Monday, December 09, 2013, the City of Fond du Lac Police Department assisted the City of Fond du Lac Fire Department with a house fire at 65 N. Hickory Street. While on scene, it was determined that the fire was suspicious in nature and a person of interest had been immediately identified.

City of Fond du Lac Police Officers immediately began searching for this subject in the vicinity of his residence at 871 S. Main Street. As initial responding officers arrived in that area, they began reporting that they were being fired upon. Several other City of Fond du Lac Police Officers, Detectives, and Commanders immediately responded to help assist the Officers that were being fired upon and to establish a perimeter in an attempt to isolate the shooter and protect people in nearby homes and businesses.

The City of Fond du Lac Police Department’s newly acquired ‘BearCat’ tactical armored vehicle was driven to the scene to provide increased ballistic protection in immediate proximity of the building from which shots were being fired. Additionally, the Fond du Lac Police Department SWAT Team was activated and responded to the incident command area that had been established at the South Main Street Fire Station.

City of Fond du Lac Police Department Officers and Detectives began working to gather information and intelligence, and members of the SWAT – Crisis Negotiations Team were able to initiate telephone contact with the suspect.

Intelligence and information gathered by the Department determined that the suspect in this matter was in possession of a significant number of firearms, including a .50 caliber rifle, a significant amount of ammunition, ballistic shields and vests. They also learned that he may be in possession of an explosive device.

In the early stages of this incident, at least 3 homes were struck by gunfire and at least 26 rounds were fired, including 2 from the .50 caliber rifle. Additionally, our investigation has concluded that at least one City of Fond du Lac Police Officer was intentionally shot at as he approached the suspect’s residence.

Due to the intelligence gathered and the obvious display of violence, additional resources were requested from the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, North Fond du Lac Police Department, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Brown/Outagamie County Sheriff’s Departments Bomb Squad, and the FBI – Milwaukee Division. Additionally, incident command support and rescue resources were committed by the City of Fond du Lac Fire Department.

Shortly after the incident unfolded the Department began disseminating a message to avoid the area and, for those inside a three block radius, to shelter in place and remain there until further notice. That message was conveyed through social media, area media, and through a telephonic messaging network.

One of the first objectives that had been identified was the need to rescue the civilians that were essentially trapped in their apartments in the same building where the suspect was located. Subsequently, a plan was established to use all three armored vehicles that had arrived on scene (City of Fond du Lac Police Department, Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department, and the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department) in an attempt to rescue those people. With perimeter protection being provided by the Fond du Lac and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Departments, the City of Fond du Lac Police Department’s SWAT Team drove up to the building in their armored tactical vehicle, and a team of SWAT officers entered the building. They quickly moved from apartment to apartment, made contact with four individuals that were trapped inside of three different apartments, and escorted them out of the building and into their armored vehicle. They were then driven out of the area and to safety.

Shortly thereafter, the Police Department’s Crisis Negotiators were able to convince the suspect to surrender. At approximately 2:00PM, City of Fond du Lac Police Department SWAT Team Officers took the subject into custody as he exited the building.

After the suspect had been taken into custody, a response plan to begin the search for explosives was formulated and carried out. No explosives were discovered, however, an inert device was found in the suspect’s residence.

A search warrant was obtained for the suspect’s residence and, among other items, several firearms, including assault rifles and a .50 caliber rifle, ammunition, tactical vests, and empty shell casings were seized.

The suspect in this incident was arrested and was transported to the Fond du Lac County Jail for ‘Failure to Comply with Officers Attempt to Take Person into Custody (Wis. Stat. 946.415 – Class I Felony). However, the City of Fond du Lac Police Department’s subsequent investigation into this incident continues and a number of arrests/referrals are forthcoming.

“I want to publicly commend the actions of the members of the City of Fond du Lac Police Department for their swift response, decisive action, and the extraordinary courage that they all demonstrated in response to this act of violence. Everything from the initial patrol response, overall incident command, intelligence gathering, the efforts of our crisis negotiators, the tactical planning and response by our SWAT Team, and the subsequent transition to the criminal investigation was done with extraordinary effectiveness and precision. As I stated when we announced the addition of the Bearcat armored vehicle to our fleet of vehicles, our Department has been placing an emphasis on training for incident command protocols, response to active shooter incidents, and the acquisition of resources necessary to help us best prepare our people to effectively respond to and control those types of situations. This incident was not a training exercise. It was a real life situation with a lot of bullets flying and the lives of police officers and members of the public were at risk. The actions of the members of the City of Fond du Lac Police Department clearly demonstrate that they have committed themselves to preparing to respond to and take control of situations that involve such acts of violence. Needless to say, I couldn’t be more proud of the members of the City of Fond du Lac Police Department for their actions and response to this incident.

I also want to commend and thank all of those agencies and their responding officers, deputies, troopers, and special agents, for their quick response, support provided, and the courage that they too demonstrated in their support of our effort to end this situation without injury or death. The members of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, North Fond du Lac Police Department, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department and FBI, all responded without delay and provided extraordinary tactical, operational, and logistical support to help us safely resolve what could have been an extraordinarily tragic event.

Additionally, I want to commend and thank the members of the City of Fond du Lac Fire Department, the Fond du Lac County Public Safety Communications Center, and the City of Fond du Lac Public Works Department for the critical support and assistance that they provided throughout this event.

As always, public safety received an outpouring of support from community members during this incident. Several businesses including Domino’s Pizza, Culvers, Subway and Pump and Pantry reached out and offered assistance. My thanks go out to them. I would also like to thank the citizens from the surrounding neighborhood for their cooperation during a situation which was undoubtedly a frightening interruption of their daily lives. Local establishments who agreed to close their doors putting the safety of everyone above the loss of business should also know they have my gratitude. Finally, I would like to thank the Joe and Dawn Colwin Family Foundation for their generosity in donating the BearCat armored vehicle to the City. With the threats officers faced during this call, there is no way containment could have been maintained nor could civilian rescues been made safely without the City’s BearCat combined with the armored vehicles of Fond du Lac and Winnebago County.

As we’ve learned in far too many tragedies in our nation, any agency’s ability to safely and effectively respond to a crisis is greatly improved through strong working relationships, partnerships, and reliance on one another for support and assistance. The support and assistance that we received from all of these law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies was critical and was a key contributing factor to helping to ensure that nobody was injured or killed in this incident. On behalf of a very grateful department and community, I’d like to offer our sincerest thanks to them all.”

City of Fond du Lac Chief of Police Bill Lamb