Off duty Appleton police officer first to respond to Fox River Mall shooting

People evacuating Fox River Mall
People evacuating Fox River Mall(wbay)
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 7:54 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - We’re learning more about the police and fire response to the shooting at the Fox River Mall, and how an off duty Appleton officer, shopping at the mall was among the first to help the victim.

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During a meeting of the city’s safety and licensing committee Wednesday night, Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas told council members that the officer was ready to react and did so, immediately after hearing several shots in the food court area.

“He was there with his girlfriend and some family members and was on the other side of the food court when he heard the shots,” said Thomas.

The chief addressed the situation, as part of an after action report, meant to evaluate the response.

“He had his service weapon with him so he immediately drew his firearm and ran towards the gun fire and while the suspects already fled the area, he found the victim and provided first aid.”

The officer dialed 911, while trying to save 19 year-old Javonni Frausto, who was the target of the shooting, and eventually died.

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Thomas added, “A couple other civilians that were there assisted him with trying to stop the bleeding and provide first aid. We assume they were military veterans also, like our officer, just how they handled themselves and the way they talked but we don’t know who those gentlemen are.”

Overall the chief says about 60 officers from Appleton responded to the shooting, and about two hundred total, representing agencies from Kaukauna to Oshkosh.

RELATED: Appleton man reflects on tragic situation with positivity

“We’ll have things that we learned, that we will take away from this and we will train on, and we will be better next time but we pray it never happens again,” said Thomas.

The chief did not release the name of the officer, but tells Action 2 News, he’s been with the department for a couple of years, and comes from a military background.

As Action 2 News first reported, Dezman Ellis, the 17-year-old charged with the shooting, is being held on a $1.5 million cash bond. His mother and brother, Shirina Willis and Ralph Ellis, have also been arrested on recommended charges of Harboring and Aiding a Felon.

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