On Saturday (4/20), we remember the 20 year anniversary of the Columbine high school massacre. The two individuals responsible for the murders of 12 students and one teacher at the Colorado school were themselves seniors who attended the school. The two killers injured 21 additional people with gunshots and also exchanged gunfire with the responding police officers before the pair subsequently committed suicide. Besides the loss of lives and individuals injured at the hands of these perpetrators, first responders also had to navigate around several homemade bombs that had been placed in the cafeteria, car bombs in the school's parking lot, as well as an additional bomb that had been placed off-site as a diversionary tactic.
From a law enforcement perspective, this tragic incident was a game changer in terms of radically altering the way we respond to what is now referred to as "active shooters." On that fateful day, the police had been criticized for being "slow" to respond to the dynamics of what was transpiring; but the body of training leading up to this event had placed a particular emphasis on staging and waiting for back-up's prior to making entry. However since Columbine, our profession studied the sobering lessons learned and have radically altered the way we react to a scene where there is still an ongoing threat to safety. Models based upon the acronym, "ALLERT" (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) now focus on immediately heading toward the origin of the threat and neutralizing the threat before more carnage can occur. MPD is currently conducting active shooter update training at our in-service training for all personnel, with a focus on scenario-based training exercises and partnering with paramedic teams from MFD. MPD also has a training cadre that goes on the road and has literally trained hundreds of individuals and groups (including schools, businesses and churches) on how best to survive an active shooter incident. This training is in high demand and has been well received.
Sadly, "Columbine" has become a euphemism that is routinely used for school shootings nowadays. Columbine (and the all-too-lengthy list of progeny cases) continues to be a centerpiece of discussion for everything from gun control debates, studies on the "profiles" of those who would engage in such behavior, school security policy, and mental health awareness and intervention strategies--to name just a few topical areas. Also, active shooter incidents have also routinely spilled over to houses of worship, malls, theaters, workplaces, playgrounds, and just about any setting imaginable where large numbers of people congregate.
At the end of the day, the statistical chances of becoming a victim to mass shootings or some other form of mayhem should not cause us to alter our freedom to live our lives as we see fit. But it does summon up the necessity to have at least a modest understanding of situational awareness and to call the authorities when "you see something (suspicious), say something."
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 04/18/2019 through 6:00 a.m. on 04/19/2019, MPD received 507 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 507 calls for service for the past 24 hours this is how the calls came in per district: Central (75), East (87), Midtown (74), North (77), South (49), West (87), and Other (58). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other."
**Priority calls only West, Midtown, and South from 10:18pm-11:55pm due to armed robbery and several other priority calls. Very busy night shift. At 3:00am there were only 9 officers out of all of 4th and 5th detail available in the entire city.
1) SOUTH: Nonresidential Burglary – 9:00 am. Officers responded to FreeWheel Bike Shop at 1804 S Park St where the owner reported someone broke into the business and stole cash and a mountain bike. The suspect remains at large. Investigation continuing.
2) NORTH: Check Person – 11:49 am. A parent contacted a school nurse via email informing her that her daughter (16-year-old WF) was suicidal. The juvenile was contacted at school and taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.
3) EAST: Information/Sexual Assault of a Child – 11:59 pm. A victim (14-year-old WF) reported to school staff and a school resource officer that she had been sexually assaulted by a known suspect (15-year-old AAM) earlier this month. Investigation continuing.
4) NORTH: Sexual Assault – 12:31 pm. A victim (36-year-old AAF) reported that a suspect (unidentified AAM), who she has been dating, sexually assaulted her in his vehicle near the intersection of Melody Ln and Independence Ln and punched her in the face. Investigation continuing.
5) MIDTOWN: Traffic Crash w/ Injuries – 5:11 pm. A subject (22-year-old WF) was driving her car northbound on S Park St attempting to turn westbound onto Chandler St. A moped operator (20-year-old WF) was driving in the bike lane traveling southbound on S Park St and struck the side of the subject's car as it made the turn onto Chandler. The moped operator was transported to the hospital with significant but not life threatening injuries. The moped operator was cited for driving in the bike lane. Investigation continuing.
6) MIDTOWN: Death Investigation – 5:18 pm. The husband of the deceased (68-year-old WF) called police concerned for his wife's welfare as she had left home and not returned. Middleton Fire and a Fitchburg PD K9 unit assisted MPD officers in a search of a park near the couple's residence. Once located, the subject appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigation continuing.
7) SOUTH: Drug Overdose – 7:51 pm. A suspect (32-year-old WM) overdosed at his residence. MFD paramedics administered naloxone and revived the suspect who was transported to the hospital. The suspect was arrested on a probation hold. Investigation continuing.
8) CENTRAL: Domestic Disturbance – 8:28 pm. Officers responded to the Wisco at 852 Williamson St where the suspect (24-year-old WM) showed up intoxicated and created a disturbance. The suspect punched an employee/victim (41-year-old WF), who was his sister, multiple times before fleeing the scene. Officers checked the area and arrested the suspect for misdemeanor bail jumping, domestic battery, and domestic disorderly conduct. Investigation continuing.
9) WEST: Robbery – 10:09 pm. Officers responded to the BP gas station at 6202 Schroeder Rd for a report of a robbery. The suspect implied he was armed with a handgun, took money from the register and fled on foot. Officers attempted a K9 track but did not locate the suspect. Incident report completed on MPD website. Investigation continuing.
10) WEST: Domestic Disturbance – 10:14 pm. Officers responded to the 1100 block of Morraine View Dr where a suspect (31-year-old HM) created a disturbance while arguing with his mother/victim (53-year-old HF). The suspect was arrested for misdemeanor bail jumping and domestic disorderly conduct. Investigation continuing.
11) WEST: Fight Call – 12:11 am. A 911 caller reported a fight in progress in the area of Balsam Rd and Leland Dr involving multiple vehicles and as many as 20 people. Upon officers' arrival to the area, all involved parties had left the area. No damaged property was located and no reports of injuries at this time. Investigation continuing.
12) CENTRAL: Adult Arrested Person – 12:29 am. An employer contacted police to inform that an employee/suspect (65-year-old AAM) was at work. There was probable cause to arrest the suspect for charges of violating an injunction and unlawful use of telephone. Officers responded and took the suspect into custody. Investigation continuing.
13) CENTRAL: Disturbance – 1:19 am. Officers responded to Whiskey Jacks Saloon at 552 State St where a suspect (31-year-old WF) struck a bouncer/victim (30-year-old WM) in the face. Officers took the suspect into custody and charged her with battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Investigation continuing.
14) EAST: Fight Call – 2:10 am. Callers to 911 reported a fight in progress at JoBeck's Bar at 521 Cottage Grove Rd. When officers arrived on scene, most of the involved parties had left. Officers made contact with a subject (36-year-old WM) who was bleeding from the mouth. No charges have been substantiated at this time. Investigation continuing.
15) CENTRAL: Information – 3:38 am. The Dane County Sheriff's Dept reported having found an item of evidentiary value at the jail related to an open MPD investigation. Officers responded to the PSB to take custody of the item.