Police body cams, surveillance footage led to suspect’s arrest in “horrific” Madison attack
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Police body cameras and surveillance cameras captured the suspect multiple times prior to a brutal attack in downtown Madison that left a woman fighting for her life. Madison Police Dept. Chief Shon Barnes credited the footage with helping investigators identify and track down the suspect.
Chief Barnes explained that Fitchburg Police Department officers pulled Brandon Thompson over around 1:20 a.m. Sunday, about two hours before police responded to downtown Madison for the attack. The traffic stop, which was for a registration violation, was recorded on police body camera footage.
Surveillance cameras in downtown Madison showed Thompson following the victim, and Barnes noted the 26-year-old suspect was wearing the same clothes he was wearing when he was pulled over in Fitchburg.
A witness told investigators about hearing a commotion and coming outside to find the suspect and victim, Barnes continued. Thompson reportedly told the witness that he found the victim laying nearby before he got into his car and drove off, explained Barnes. The witness asked Thompson to stay on the scene, but Barnes said Thompson refused.
An official at the press conference explained that biological evidence and DNA swabs were collected at the scene. That is now being tested in the state crime lab.
Police said the surveillance video sent in from businesses a “linchpin” in making the arrest and were among dozens of submissions from the community.
UWPD Chief Kristen Roman condemned the attack during the news conference.
“The violence perpetrated against this young woman Sunday morning was horrific and will not be tolerated,” Roman said. “This is not Madison, this is not UW-Madison, the safety of our Badger community will remain always our top priority we will work collaboratively with our city partners to prevent sexual violence.”
Chief Barnes also showed his full-fledged support for the survivor, who is still in the hospital. She is expected to survive.
“You have the full support of the Madison community and the Madison Police Department and you are strong and you are the very definition of courage,” Barnes said.
Police reiterated Wednesday that the suspect and victim do not know each other.
In an earlier update Wednesday, MPD reports Thompson was taken into custody for the assault, which happened around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, in the 500 block of W. Wilson St., near the S. Bedford St. intersection. He was booked into the Dane Co. jail on counts of first-degree sexual assault, first-degree reckless injury, and strangulation.
Thompson’s attorneys released a statement Wednesday, saying he graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee where he studied Criminal Justice Administration. He also received a minor in psychology. The law firm also notes Thompson’s father served in the Army until his retirement, later working in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Police say the 26-year-old suspect was not in their system until Wednesday, and has no known criminal background.
In Tuesday’s update, the police department urged everyone to be extra cautious and aware of their surroundings when in that area.
On Sunday, the police department called the assault a top priority and stepped up efforts over the weekend to find the perpetrator. In a news conference that day MPD Chief Shon Barnes said he authorized a full complement of police resources to find the suspect.
As part of the investigation, MPD is urging anyone within a four-block area of the crime scene to submit all their surveillance video and photos from the holiday weekend. They also reminded people that some cars, including Teslas, that were parked in the area could also have recorded important information.
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