Police Explain Why La Crosse Officer Shot Suspect

Police say it started when Officer Thad Baldwin, who's been on the force for 26-years, pulled over a pickup truck for speeding.

Officers say the driver blew almost twice the legal limit into the breathalizer, and was arrested.

Then police say Smith got out of the passenger seat against Baldwin's orders, so he called for backup.

Officer Jon Wegner got to the intersection of Rose and Sill, and baldwin tried to arrest Smith, who had a screwdriver.

Smith allegedly resisted the officers, then Wegner tried to shock him with a tazer, which didn't work because of Smith's heavy coat.

Officers say Smith stabbed Wegner under the arm and in the chest, though a bulletproof vest protected Wegner from most of the blows.

Baldwin shot Smith, and Wegner gave him first aid until rescue crews took him to the hospital.

"It would appear that the officers utilized all their training, in fact, responded exactly how our officers are trained to," said Chief Edward Kondracki.

After all that, the manager of nearby Sign Pro says he raced over to see what was going on, but that the incident shouldn't affect his business.

"It's a little freaky," said James Warsinske. "To see the blood on the sidewalk was kind of upsetting."

Wegner has since been treated at the hospital and released.

Police say they've got two investigations going on as a result: one internal, the other criminal.

The Chief says he thinks it had been 20 years since a La Crosse officer last had to shoot someone in the line of duty.

He adds that screwdrivers are the second most used weapon in edge-weapon murder because they're easy to get, and effective as weapons.


WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 2531276 - weau.com/a?a=2531276