Armed Man Arrested After Daylong Standoff


A Richland County man fired shots at law enforcement officers twice on Thursday, during an all-day standoff. The officers were trying to evict him from his home.

Tactical teams from several area sheriff's departments were called out to the house on County Road G, near Viola.

It started Monday morning when four Richland County sheriff's deputies tried to evict a man from his home.

"In the process of serving those papers, shots were fired in their direction. At that point officers did back off for safety reasons," says Richland County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Bob Frank.

Frank says 61-year-old Robert Bayliss was the man in the house, wanted for tax evasion. Richland County called for help and the La Crosse, Dane and Vernon County sheriff's departments arrived and set up.

"They came in and assisted us with executing a warrant and a search warrant. At that point the emergency rescue vehicle was shot at," says Frank.

Around 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, deputies tried to enter the home when a fire broke out inside the house and Bayliss was forced to give himself up.

"The fire started as the tactical teams going into execute their operation. Bayliss in the end did give himself up. He did come out of the facility," Frank says.

Frank says Bayliss is being held in the Richland County jail and is facing more charges because of this standoff.

"There are a number of weapons charges, firing a weapon towards law enforcement, reckless endangerment," says Frank.

Frank says no one was hurt or injured during the standoff.

CLICK HERE to read the full press release from Richland County Sheriff Darrell Berglin.

Full press release text:

Press Release 5
April 4, 2008

Richland County Sheriff Darrell Berglin has released additional details concerning the armed standoff that occurred yesterday in Forest Township in rural Richland County. The incident ended late yesterday afternoon with the suspect, Robert C. Bayliss, age 60, being taken into custody.

According to Sheriff Berglin, this incident began on Monday, March 31st when deputies attempted to serve civil process papers on Mr. Bayliss. Mr. Bayliss resides on a small parcel of land off County Highway G near Viola. The civil paper service concerned tax delinquency. As four uniformed Richland County deputies approach the residence of Mr. Bayliss; they were fired upon with multiple shots necessitating them to leave the area.

Based on this incident, an arrest warrant was obtained for Mr. Bayliss as well as a search warrant for his property. Officers from the Richland County and Vernon County Sheriff’s Department’s increased police presence in the area for public safety. Planning on a multiagency level began immediately to find a solution to peacefully resolve the situation.

During the earlier morning hours of Thursday, April 3rd, Richland County authorities secured the area surrounding residence of Mr. Bayliss. At this time the Richland County Special response Team, Vernon County and LaCrosse county Tactical teams assisted with the operation. Additional resources included an armored rescue vehicle, know as a Bearcat, from the LaCrosse County Sheriff’s Department and air support from the Wisconsin State Patrol Fixed Wing.

At approximately 9:01 AM, The fully marked LaCrosse County Bearcat unit containing members of the involved tactical teams attempted to drive up to the residence. They were immediately fired upon multiple times by a high-powered rifle from a second floor window of the Bayliss residence. During this time, attempts were made through the public address system on the Bearcat for Mr. Bayliss to surrender. During the approach to the residence, the Bearcat sustained multiple hits from high-powered rifle fire and subsequently backed away from the residence.

It became clear at this point that additional resources were needed to resolve the situation. Calls for assistance were placed to the Eau Claire County SWAT team, Sauk County Emergency Response team, Dane County SWAT team and Kenosha Air One helicopter. Two additional Bearcat units from EauClaire County and Dane County were obtained.

With the arrival of the additional resources, tactical planning continued in hopes of a safe resolution. From the onset of the operation and through the course of the day efforts were made through the public address system to encourage Mr. Bayliss to surrender peacefully. Sheriff Berglin advises that Mr. Bayliss was given ample opportunity to “re-think” his resistance and response to the presence of law enforcement. Mr. Bayliss refused in any way to communicate with officers, or to surrender.

At approximately 4:52 PM, a second approach to the Bayliss residence was initiated. The second approach included the three Bearcat units containing tactical officers. These units, upon approaching the residence were immediately met by multiple rounds of gunfire from the Bayliss residence. Officers returned fire and, in addition, deployed tear gas into residence. During this time tactical officers reported that, in addition to firing upon the units, Mr. Bayliss was also throwing “grenades” or some form of homemade improvised explosive devices at the armored Bearcats.

After continuos exchange of gunfire, a fire broke out within the residence. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bayliss exited the residence through a second story window in what officers believed to be an attempt to surrender. It was observed that Mr. Bayliss was still armed with a handgun when he exited the residence. Commands were given for Mr. Bayliss to drop the weapon.

According to Sheriff Berglin, while Mr. Bayliss was outside the residence, tactical officers saw an opportunity to use less-lethal munitions as a way to end the situation without using deadly force. Officers engaged Mr. Bayliss with less-lethal force. Mr. Bayliss subsequently dropped his handgun and was taken into custody.

Although the structure was on fire, on-scene tactical officers determined that it was unsafe for fire units to approach the residence due to the possibility of explosives that may be in or around the Bayliss residence. The area was secured as a crime scene and requests were made to the Dane County Bomb Squad, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to check the area for the presence of other explosive devices.

Mr. Bayliss was attended to at the scene by tactical team medics and subsequently transported to the Richland Hospital for medical clearance. Bayliss was later transported to the Richland County Jail where he is currently being held. Bayliss is tentatively charged with two counts of First Degree Attempted Homicide, Recklessly Endangering Safety, Failure to Comply with Officer’s Attempt to Take a Person into Custody, Two counts of Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon and Possession of Explosives. Other charges are pending.

Although the three Bearcat units sustained damage, no officers were injured during the course of the operation. According to Sheriff Berglin, “the Bearcat units did precisely what they were designed to do- protect officers in a deadly force situation.”

Sheriff Berglin advises that this was an extremely volatile and hazardous situation that quickly exceeded the capabilities of our local law enforcement resources. From the very onset, we received tremendous support from law enforcement and other agencies from literally across the State of Wisconsin who quickly responded to our emergency situation.

Sheriff Berglin reports that he is extremely impressed by the professionalism and discipline shown by tactical officers who saw an opportunity amidst a deadly force situation, to conclude it by the use of less-lethal force. Berglin states that the only reason this incident concluded without the loss of life was the sound preparation and execution of the plan by tactical units involved in this operation. Our objective from the very start was to protect the public, officers involved and the suspect. These tactical units accomplished this task without injury to any officer or the suspect, Mr. Bayliss. Sheriff Berlin stated “It was Mr. Bayliss who decided how this day was going to begin and how this day was going to end. The decisions were his. He was give continuous opportunity to resolve this peacefully; however, his choice was to continue to escalate.”

Sheriff Berlin wishes their was a way for him to clearly express in words his sincere gratitude to the agencies who assisted his department and individual officers who put their life on the line.

Agencies and units involved in yesterdays operation include the Richland County sheriff’s Department, Vernon County sheriff’s Department, LaCrosse County Sheriff’s Department, Sauk County sheriff’s Department, EauClaire County Sheriff’s Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Richland Center Police Department, Tactical units from the Counties of Richland, Vernon, LaCrosse, Dane, EauClaire and Sauk counties, Wisconsin State patrol, Wisconsin Department on Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, Dane County Bomb Squad, Wisconsin Fire Marshall, Wisconsin Emergency Police Services, Richland County Emergency Management, Kenosha Air One Helicopter, Wisconsin State patrol Fixed Wing and Viola Fire and Viola EMS.

Released approved
Darrell Berglin 04-04-08

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