Lake Mills law enforcement busy Friday evening
LAKE MILLS -- Multiple branches of law enforcement were busy Friday evening in Lake Mills as a result of several types of incidents happening simultaneously.
According to Lake Mills Police Chief Mick Selck, at 9:26 p.m. Friday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received a phone contact in which the caller stated someone had made a social media posting in regard to possibly filling their trailer home with natural gas. The person making the threat was believed to be suicidal. The caller provided the subject’s address as being in the 800 block of East Lake Street in Lake Mills.
At the time of the call, the Lake Mills Police Department was investigating a possible heroin arrest. Therefore, Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff’s deputies were the first to arrive on scene in the 800 block of East Lake Street and reported an odor of natural gas.
At 9:41 p.m., according to Selck, Lake Mills Fire and EMS were called and responded to the subject property in case of an explosion. The fire department was able to shut off the gas to the building to prevent ignition of gas.
“Sheriff’s department negotiators were called in to speak with the subject,” Selck said. “The subject threatened to harm himself and/or law enforcement and claimed to have a gun. Officers on-site reported seeing what appeared to be a rifle in the subject’s hands inside the subject property. The subject refused to come out to meet with the officers on site. It was believed the subject was intoxicated.”
Once the area was deemed safe from explosion, fire and EMS were able to clear it and return to their normal business.
Selck reported officers next made contact with the subject after he came out of the residence at 2:22 a.m. Saturday. He left the property, entered a vehicle and drove a short loop around the area and pulled back in front of the home. Officers ordered him, at gunpoint, to get on the ground, but he disregarded the order and kept his hands concealed from the police officers and returned to the residence.
“The man continued to make threats and then stopped communicating with law enforcement,” Selck said.
At about 6:37 a.m. Saturday, the subject initiated contact with law enforcement, complaining it was cold and asked the gas be turned back on.
“When the subject was advised that the gas would not be turned back on, due to the reported threats, (he) grabbed a fire pit from outside and went into the subject property and started a fire,” Selck said. “The Lake Mills Fire Department was called to the scene again at 7:37 a.m. to be on standby should the trailer start on fire. Officers attempted to talk to the subject again, but (he) refused to comply. At that point, it appeared the subject extinguished the fire.”
Residences near the subject property were evacuated after the man came outside brandishing what appeared to be a rifle and held it to his head and told officers to leave.
The State of Wisconsin Air Coordination Group was then called in and deployed two drones to watch the subject property without endangering officers. Drone pilots from Wisconsin Capital Police and Middleton Fire Department were utilized. Lake Mills EMS was paged to be on standby.
“Around 7:50 a.m. Saturday,” Selck said, “Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department negotiators were contacted to respond back to the area and spent several hours attempting to communicate with the man. Eventually, he refused to respond in any way and in response to this, the Jefferson County SWAT team was contacted and arrived on the scene.”
At approximately 12:46 p.m. Saturday, arrest teams were formed and three gas canisters were deployed into the man’s property.
“The subject exited the front of the property and was immediately taken into custody without further incident,” Selck said. “The subject is being held on a mental health hold and various criminal charges, which will be referred to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.”
Police cleared the scene at 1:21 p.m. Saturday, almost 16 hours after the initial call.
“Lake Mills Police would like to thank the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for all the suppovrt and specialty personnel provided throughout the event,” Selck said in a media statement. “Lake Mills Fire assisted with the gas issue and helped with evacuations and traffic control. Lake Mills EMS remained on standby throughout. State of Wisconsin Air Coordination Group specifically the Capital Police and Middleton Fire Department for drone support. The Lake Mills Boy Scouts provided food from their pancake breakfast. Lake Mills School District volunteered their facility for evacuees, however it was not utilized, because there was a center on-site for those displaced during the event. Overall it was truly a community support effort.”