OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The Winnebago County District Attorney's Office has determined after an investigation that an officer's use of force was justified during an officer-involved shooting that took place on March 17.
Oshkosh Police say there were investigating a threats complaint involving a homeless female victim who was working at an assisted living facility as a temporary CNA in Oshkosh.
The threats complaint stated a male suspect had taken the victim's money, car and phone and had struck her and threatened her with further violence. The suspect had recently been released from prison and was on parole. The suspect was also wanted on a probation warrant through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
While speaking with officers on the phone, police say the victim stated she felt frightened and trapped. She advised officers that she thought her vehicle and the suspect would be at the bars on North Main Street. Officers were able to locate the vehicle and saw there were other vehicles parked in each stall on both sides of the victim's car along with cars parked along the west side of the 500 block of North Main Street.
Officers conducted surveillance on the vehicle and noticed the suspect returning to the vehicle at 1:30 a.m. Police say in a release that officers positioned their marked squad car directly behind the victim's vehicle to prevent it from leaving. Officers approached the suspect who was seated in the driver's seat. While attempting to make contact, the suspect put the vehicle in reverse, narrowly missing a second officer, then backed into the marked patrol squad parked behind the vehicle.
The second officer observed the vehicle accelerate toward her. Based on the officer's proximity to the vehicle and the driver's actions, the officer said she was afraid for her life. A release says the officer discharged her service weapon and fired two rounds. The suspect was struck by one round and was injured.
Authorities say the suspect then struck a concrete light pole base and a parked vehicle before coming to a stop. Officers were able to remove the suspect from the vehicle and began medical treatment. The Oshkosh Fire Department transported the suspect to a local hospital where he was treated for his wound. He was later transferred to the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for an outstanding warrant for parole violation.
After a review of the incident, the Winnebago County District Attorney's Office found that the suspect presented a significant risk to the life and safety of the officer. Clear evidence showed the suspect drove a car toward an officer, according to the DA's Office, which added "The act reasonably put the officer in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm and her use of force was justified."
Evidence regarding pending criminal charges against the suspect is still under review by the District Attorney's Office.
Names of the officer involved and the suspect are not being released at this time due to potential criminal charges and victim rights obligations, according to the Oshkosh Police.
The suspect is currently in the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility in Milwaukee, awaiting a parole violation hearing.