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After Shotgun Showdown Near Sendik's, Police Plan to Refile Request for Charges

Tosa Police, turned down by DA, will present new evidence for charging this week after run-in with suspect in liquor theft that featured a tense shotgun standoff and a takedown by K9.

The Wauwatosa Police intend to again present their case against a suspect they believe stole three bottles of liquor and then resisted arrest, continuing to advance on an officer who had him covered with a shotgun, ready to fire, just before Tosa's K9 Officer Addy took him down from behind.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office last week "no processed" the case, saying that initial police reports did not positively identify the suspect as the thief in a liquor heist from Sendik's, at 8616 W. North Ave.

Officers believe that testimony based on video evidence from the store that was not available before charges were first sought will now prove the suspect they arrested was also the thief.

A simple case of retail theft, liquor...

At 7:50 p.m. last Sunday, police were called to Sendik's on the reported theft of several bottles of liquor by a bald black man wearing a long, black, "puffy" coat. A nearby officer was on the scene inside of a minute, he said, and soon spotted a subject of similar description at 88th Street, although he was then wearing a black and gray jacket.

The officer pulled into the Mobil station at the corner, got out and asked the suspect to stop. The man said, "I just saw the guy run that way," pointing north. "He was wearing a black trench coat" – and he kept walking.

The officer again asked him to stop, but the suspect kept walking, began to cross North Avenue, and then broke into a sprint south down Ludington Avenue. The officer jumped back into his squad car, called in his position to other responding officers, and gave chase.

One of the officers involved was the Wauwatosa Police Department's officer-handler of K9 Officer Addy. He was actually second on the scene, and saw the confrontation with the first officer, then drove literally beside the suspect as ran down Ludington, hitting his emergency lights, calling to the man to stop, and commanding Addy to bark at him in the hope of frightening him into halting.

But the suspect broke off into a yard and ran behind a house. The officer at first got out and gave chase on his own, but then returned to his squad for Addy.

Three times over the next five minutes, other police officers encountered the suspect amid the yards and alleys of residences between North Avenue and Jackson Park Boulevard, and each time he ran again, ignoring orders to stop and vaulting over fences or disappearing around corners.

An expert with the ways, means and right to kill

An officer who was holding his perimeter position near a Jackson Park home heard footsteps and saw a bald black man running at him – wearing a gray hoodie sweatshirt.

The officer was armed with a shotgun. He pointed it at the suspect and yelled, "Police! Stop! Get your hands in the air!" The suspect slowed to a walk but did not stop. Six or seven more times, by his own estimate, the officer commanded, "Get your hands in the air!" The suspect kept coming on, his hands at his side.

The suspect finally stopped just seven or eight feet in front of the officer. But instead of surrendering as ordered, he slid his hand into his pocket. The officer hollered at him, shotgun trained, "Get your hand out of your pocket and get on the ground!" The suspect did not obey, and slowly began to pull his hand out of his pocket....

Good dog

Meanwhile, every other officer on and within the perimeter had lost sight of the suspect. But the one officer who does not rely only on sight – K9 Addy – was racing nose-first with his handler through the yards, and they came upon the suspect from behind at the moment he was in jeopardy of being shot.

Addy's lead was released and he heard the takedown command. He charged the few yards separating him from the suspect just as the man pulled his hand out of his pocket, launched his 60 pounds through the air and sank his teeth into the suspect's upper thigh.

The man plunged to the ground where he belonged and was quickly handcuffed without further resistance. Addy released his bite hold on command and returned to his handler, job done.

The suspect, a 38-year-old Milwaukee man with a long criminal record and warrants for cocaine possession and theft, refused to answer questions. As it turned it out, he had no gun in is pocket – in fact, he had nothing in his pocket at all.

A long black trench coat was found behind a home on 89th Street just north of North Avenue, near where the first officer encountered him. The following day, a resident on Jackson Park Boulevard found a gray and black jacket in his garbage cart and turned it over to police.

The liquor the suspect risked his life for – two bottles of tequila and one of rum – had not been found as of last report. The man was arrested on suspicion of retail theft, resisting arrest, bail-jumping and as a wanted felon.

Police believe, of course, that the suspect first ran west from Sendik's, then north, and ditched his topcoat in the alley, also tossing the liquor somewhere. Then he tried to amble away, attired differently.

After running from the first encounter with an officer, he managed to ditch a second jacket, presenting yet another attire to obscure his identity, investigators believed.

But an assistant district attorney disagreed when the case was forwarded for charges Tuesdey, saying the he didn't believe the evidence could prove the man sent to the hospital by a police dog while under threat of evisceration by shotgun was necessarily the man who stole the liquor.

Given the number of officers involved, not all had been given a chance to review the video evidence before the request for charges was taken downtown. Now they have, and more than one are willing to testify that the bald man they encountered was identifiable as the same one clearly shown grabbing three bottles of liquor in the store – right down to his gray sweatshirt hood sticking out from the collar of his long black trench coat.

HMB III January 15, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Jim, Check your info on the officer that had the shotgun. I think you were refering to the officer's father and not son who actually had the suspect at gun point. "Recently Retired Tosa Officer"
Jim Price January 15, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Well, darn it, I think you're right. I didn't know we had a father-son team on the Tosa force. And based on your initials, I'd say you know better than I.
Jim Price January 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM
The article has been corrected. Thank you so much for your service.
3393 January 15, 2013 at 02:57 AM
@jbw- I truly love your comment!! -These officers did a great job and thank you to the Tosa police.
Deb Strzelecki January 26, 2013 at 04:22 PM
MKE County DA's office: "No Process." Very, very typical. The cops are out there, busting their butts for hours and hours, only to have the DA's office toss it within minutes. When I worked in Waukesha Co., 180 degree difference.

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