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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  • by MP Location: Chippewa Falls on Nov 23, 2007 at 12:17 AM
    Steph: I just wrote a lengthy message to you and I belive that it has been erased for some reason. I want you to know that if any 1has any critical comment or judgement to your situation needs to back off immedietely. Your support system is with your Department and Home and they are more than willing to let you lean on them. "They ROCK"! We must now only communicate via your personal e-mail and not deal with the publics thoughts or opinions. They truely do not understand your pain. You are so beautiful and sincere, and I really wish that this did not happen to you. Your heart is gold, filled with diamonds and crafted carefully by an artist, and I feel very lucky to be your friend. I will be in touch with you very soon, Talk Care, Me PS, to the rest of the Public, I would like to state thatou need to focus your energy elsewere and not to the victims in this situation, for they are hurting badly. Thank you Steph for all that you have done for me.
  • by Stephanie Location: Chippewa Valley on Nov 21, 2007 at 08:44 PM
    I wanted to say thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts & prayers for my family. I have a million thoughts, one being, I lost my 2nd brother to suicide-their death anniversary being a few months apart. I tried to think how my "baby" brother must have felt to give up all hope and possibly commit a crime and then give up and pull the trigger. As I work in law enforcement, I then thought, I am so glad he did not rob the business, that he did not hurt any bystanders & that he did not make an officer (remember they are only people too) end Jack's life. It is easy to pass judgment, especially when asked "why did someone not see he was hurting & get him help". Well to be truthful, we didn't see it. Was that the family and friends fault? No. Put the blame where it belongs. I will always love my brother and am very sad that his son will not know what a loyal and loving person he was to his family. Love you always Jack, I know you are now united with our brother Michael.
  • by MP Location: Chippewa Falls on Nov 21, 2007 at 06:42 PM
    Kelly: No need to pour alcohol in the wounds that be. If you have a heart, let it only give deeply for the family and not be so hard and cold as to needing to state a point during a very difficult time. Leave it alone so the family may start their healing process. It is apparent that you have not had a significant loss in your life for if you had you would know the pain involved and would not feel the need to answer the "peoples" questions. So watch your words and chose them carefully. Maybe you were never taught the "Golden Rule", or the simple statement "If you can't say something nice, DO NOT say anything at all". I sure wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that you are able to spend it with your family who are still with you.
  • by Kelly Location: Eau Claire on Nov 21, 2007 at 08:46 AM
    I just want to say thanks to the Eau Claire City Police for continuing to keep this a safe place to live. People are wondering why there had to be a chase -- well if he hadn't fled there wouldnt have had to be.
  • by Nikki Location: Eau Claire on Nov 20, 2007 at 02:47 PM
    My heart goes out to Jack's soon as I heard the name, my heart broke and I cried. I grew up Jack, his brother - whom I still miss so much, and his sister. I am a mother know and can't even image the pain his mother is going through, they were both good boys/men. To his mother, sister, son and are all in my heart and prayers. It breaks my heart but I know that Jack has someone waiting for him, that brings a small smile to my face.
  • by Anonymous Location: eau claire on Nov 20, 2007 at 01:21 PM
    I'm sorry to the family for their loss. Something like this would never be easy to deal with. May the Lord be of a comfort to you during this tragedy.
  • by D.J. Anderson Location: Bloomer on Nov 20, 2007 at 09:39 AM
    I am the woman who was interviewed by the news media. I want to express my sympathy to Jack Short's family. I am so sorry for your loss and I am praying for your family. My heart goes out to all of you.
  • by Anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Nov 19, 2007 at 04:42 PM
    I am the person that called 911. I want to say how very sorry I am to Mr. Short's family and friends. I have prayed for him, and prayed that I did the right thing by calling the police. I truly believed in my heart that he was about to commit a very serious crime, and possibly kill someone. To actually witness someone preparing themself by putting on a mask, sunglasses, and arming himself with a handgun is not something I have ever seen. If I had'nt been so afraid, I would have approached him and tried to talk him out of it, and helped him in some way. I have been where he was yesterday and I feel his pain. My heart cries for him and his family. God bless you.
  • by SDR Location: EC on Nov 19, 2007 at 02:55 PM
    When I heard of this story the first thing that came to mind was the loss of another brother years ago. Was a police chase the only resolution? Not knowing the facts, I cannot judge. I feel for the family and offer my deepest condolences. They were great kids to grow up with in my neighborhood.
  • by Kathy Location: Eau Claire on Nov 19, 2007 at 01:47 PM
    I live on Starr Ave. and yesterday was yet another instance of Police vehicles flying down the street at extremely high rates of speed so I thought little of it until I saw the news today. This gentleman happened to be a former employee of mine approx. a year ago. It's really too bad that his life ended this way. I really take issue with the lack of concern for the safety of those living/travelling on Starr Ave. when the ECPD consistently race down the street at extremely high rates of speed. I've often commented on the issue to numerous people. I have a 9 year old that I'd like not to see run over by them some day when they are in a car chase and this isn't the first one I've witnessed down this street. When someone has a gun that ups the ante a little bit, however, it is a dangerous practice that the police chase individual like that down a residential street, albeit a busy one.
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