Victim identified in Waunakee shooting, homicide suspect arrested, police say
A 74-year-old man alleged to have fatally shot a woman in the presence of her 15-year-old son and 4-year-old grandson at her Waunakee apartment Friday evening has been arrested on a tentative charge of first-degree intentional homicide, police said at a Saturday news conference.
Waunakee police identified Ronald Jenne as the suspect in the Creekside Condominiums shooting in the 200 block of Kearney Way.
The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Julie Virginia Anderson, 54, of Waunakee.
Jim Rowley, a neighbor of the victim, who said he entered Anderson’s apartment shortly after hearing shots fired, encountered the 15-year-old attempting to render aid while also speaking with a 911 dispatcher.
“I don’t know how he kept it together trying to keep her alive,” Rowley said.
A helicopter transported Anderson to UW Hospital, where she died just after 7 p.m. Friday. An autopsy determined her death was the result of homicidal firearm-related trauma, the medical examiner’s office said.
On Friday evening, Jenne went to Anderson’s ground-floor apartment — where her 15-year-old son and 4-year-old grandson were at the time of the shooting — and Anderson let Jenne into the apartment, according to Waunakee Police Chief Kevin Plendl.
Rowley, a longtime neighbor in the multi-unit building to both Jenne and Anderson, said he lived kitty-corner to Anderson’s apartment and next to Jenne’s.
He described Jenne as a quiet person who kept to himself aside from the occasional hallway hello.
Rowley said he raced out of his own unit into the hallway after hearing “loud bangs” and found Jenne, who used an obscenity when Rowley attempted to say hello. Rowley said he saw Jenne carrying a pistol as Jenne returned to his apartment.
Rowley said he entered Anderson’s apartment and observed the 15-year-old boy applying pressure to her wounds while also on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.
The first officers arrived on scene at 5:09 p.m. and found Jenne in a standoff.
A Dane County SWAT team negotiator spoke with Jenne over the phone, a negotiation that lasted less than 15 minutes, Plendl said.
Jenne surrendered and is being held in the Dane County jail. The gun believed to be used in the shooting, a .380-caliber handgun, was recovered in Jenne’s apartment.
Plendl said no motive has been determined.
Jenne had several interactions with police in 2018, including some incidents that made officers concerned over “possible mental health issues,” Plendl said.
Court records show a disorderly conduct complaint filed against Jenne Friday.
The complaint stems from four cases of criminal disorderly conduct by Jenne for incidents that occurred in late July and early August, though none of the cases were connected to Anderson, Plendl said.
Police put Jenne in contact with mental health services on several occasions, Plendl said. He said he could not go into greater detail, citing the ongoing investigation.
Both children are with family members, and Victim Services is involved, Plendl said.
Earlier this year, the National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked Waunakee — a village of about 13,000 people — the second-safest city in Wisconsin.
Rowley, the neighbor, described the area as safe and quiet, a place he felt comfortable enough to leave his door unlocked.
“This is just something that’s not normal in Waunakee,” village president Chris Zellner said of the shooting. “This is an isolated incident, hopefully.”
The last homicide in Waunakee was in 2008 and that case did not involve a firearm, Plendl said.
“It’s really tragic,” he said. “People are not used to this at all. … The person that’s responsible for this is in jail and will be held accountable for this.”