One Man Dead After Leading Eau Claire Police on Chase

By: Katie Heinz Email
By: Katie Heinz Email

Eau Claire Police say 29-year-old Jack Short of Eau Claire thought about robbing a local pawn shop before he led them on a chase and later ended his life.

Detectives say a witness saw Short put on a blaze orange coat, ski mask and gloves, then put a pistol in his waistband and opened the front door of C & C Pawn Brokers before walking back to his car.

This was the scene on the city's north side Sunday afternoon, as squad cars and fire trucks blocked off part of Starr Avenue and neighbors fled their homes.

But Eau Claire Police say it all started nearly 3.5 miles away.

Just after 12:30 p.m. Sunday, police say they responded to a call for a man who appeared to be nervously walking back and forth behind the Plumtree Cleaners on Washington Street.

"The subject was acting very suspicious," said Eau Claire Police Sergeant Randy Fahrenkrog. "Then the caller said he possibly had a handgun he was putting in his waistband."

When officers arrived, Fahrenkrog says they approached Short. He says Short then took off in his car, leading three officers on a chase.

Deputy Chief Eric Larsen says that chase led officers north on Farwell and east on Birch Street, before the suspect turned onto Starr Avenue.

"We had officers set up stop sticks on the road to try and stop the pursuit before it turned high speed," Fahrenkrog said. "The subject then went off the road."

Donna Anderson was visiting her son across the street from 2220 Starr Avenue and says she saw the whole thing.

"I was playing with the dog, heard sirens and looked over on Starr, and saw this car come," Anderson said. "The guy had on orange hunting clothes and looked like he was going to move over because two cop cars were following him."

But police say Short didn't move but instead turned onto this dirt road, and stopped in the yard at 2220 Starr Avenue before shooting himself.

Police detectives are still investigating how many shots were fired but say the responding officers didn't shoot their weapons.

We talked to neighbors who were evacuated from their homes and seemed shaken up.

"I was a little concerned because when shots were fired I wondered if they could reach us over here," Anderson said.

"A suspicious person that has a handgun, then flees when he see officers is obviously something we take very seriously," Fahrenkrog said.


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