New Information: Police identify man killed following chase - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New Information: Police identify man killed following chase

Posted:
Christian A.N. Peterson Christian A.N. Peterson
Officer Jason Ruppert Officer Jason Ruppert

Eau Claire (WQOW) – There are answers to some questions about Friday night's chase and shooting in Eau Claire.

Police say Christian Peterson, from Wausau, was shot and killed by an Eau Claire officer as Peterson tried to carjack a truck at gunpoint in the drive-thru at the Culver's restaurant on Brackett Avenue.  Police say Peterson refused several commands to drop his gun and started coming toward the officer when he was shot.  Officers then tried to revive him, but he died at the hospital.

On Monday, police laid out some of the events that led to the shooting.  It started in Altoona when officers started looking for Peterson's vehicle.  Police there wont say why they were looking for him.  But a State Trooper followed him into the Perkins parking lot only to have Peterson ram his squad car and damage three other cars. 

Police say Peterson fled, then hit another car near downtown Eau Claire, injuring one driver.  That's when they believe Peterson ran from the scene and went to a home on Roosevelt Avenue, forcing a homeowner at gunpoint to give up their SUV keys.  A chase then went through the Water Street area and onto Clairemont Avenue, where speeds reached 75 miles an hour. 

Police say Peterson drove the wrong way up a highway ramp and the wrong way down Hastings Way before an officer used his squad car to bring the stolen SUV to a stop.  They say that's when Peterson ran to the Culver's and tried to steal the truck and was shot.

According to online court records, Peterson was convicted in 2010 of leading area troopers on a chase on his motorcycle, reaching speeds of 130 miles an hour.  That same year he was convicted in Marathon County for possessing meth.

It's still not clear what prompted the initial pursuit in Altoona and police there aren't talking.  The State Patrol is investigating the crashes and the state Department of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.  Police Chief Jerry Matysik says the officer "took appropriate, decisive action to stop a significant threat to our community."

********************

Eau Claire (Press Release) - On Friday, October 5, 2012, the Eau Claire Police Department was involved in multiple incidents that ultimately ended with an officer-involved shooting.

K-9 Officer Jason Ruppert, a 15-year-veteran of the Eau Claire Police Department, arrived at the Culver's restaurant parking lot on Brackett Avenue in response to a chain of events that had previously transpired throughout the City of Eau Claire.

Upon arrival, Officer Ruppert observed the suspect with a gun in his hand, attempting to force entry into an occupied vehicle which was stopped at the Culver's drive-thru window.

As Officer Ruppert issued multiple direct voice commands to the suspect to drop his gun, the suspect moved toward Officer Ruppert and around the front of the vehicle toward the eastside entrance to Culver's. Officer Ruppert fired his duty weapon, ending the threat presented by the suspect.

Eau Claire Chief of Police Jerry Matysik says, "Officer Ruppert took appropriate, decisive action to stop a significant threat to our community. He repeatedly ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect did not comply. Officer Ruppert therefore used deadly force to protect both an innocent citizen and others in the immediate vicinity."

The incidents on Friday evening originally stemmed from an investigation by another law enforcement agency in an adjacent jurisdiction. The cases involved multiple scenes to include traffic crashes, a home invasion, stolen vehicles and an officer-involved shooting. This series of events continues to be investigated by several different law enforcement agencies as information continues to be gathered and witnesses are still being interviewed.

The Eau Claire Police Department does not yet have access to all of the details.

In an effort to provide as much information to the public as possible, the following information is known at this time. More details will be released after the various investigations have been completed.

  • Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the Eau Claire Communications Center advised Eau Claire Police officers of a hit-and-run crash involving multiple vehicles in the Perkins parking lot at 2025 Highland Ave. Another law enforcement agency was actively pursuing the suspect vehicle from that location.
  • At 6:42 p.m., Eau Claire Police officers were advised of another hit-and-run crash at Jefferson and Farwell Streets, which resulted in injuries to a motorist in the struck vehicle. The Eau Claire Communications Center advised Eau Claire Police officers that the suspect involved in the hit-and-run crashes was on foot in the Third Ward neighborhood. Eau Claire Police officers then began to set up a perimeter to locate and contain the suspect.
  • At 6:47 p.m., the Eau Claire Communications Center advised that an armed home invasion had just been reported at a residence in the 400 block of Roosevelt Avenue. The suspect entered the house armed with a gun, confronted the resident and demanded the keys to the resident's vehicle. He then fled in the resident's black SUV. Eau Claire Police officers were given the vehicle description.
  • An Eau Claire Police officer observed the stolen SUV westbound on the Water Street Bridge and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on that vehicle. The suspect then tried to elude officers by making several turns through the Water Street neighborhood. The pursuit continued westbound on Water Street at which time another Eau Claire Police officer successfully deployed a controlled tire deflation device at the intersection of Water Street and 8th Avenue. With damage to the vehicle's tires, the suspect continued to flee westbound onto Menomonie Street before turning southbound on Clairemont Avenue.
  • The vehicle pursuit continued on Clairemont Avenue to Hendrickson Drive, at which time the black SUV exited Clairemont Avenue across the grass onto the service road near the Shopko parking lot. The suspect continued eastbound on the service road, turned northbound on Stein Boulevard and then again turned eastbound onto Clairemont Avenue.
  • The pursuit continued on Clairemont Avenue at speeds up to 75 mph. The suspect then made a left turn northbound at London Road in the wrong direction into oncoming traffic on the off-ramp from southbound S. Hastings Way.The suspect continued northbound on S. Hastings Way before turning westbound on Kirk Street and ultimately into the southeast corner of Wagner's Lanes parking lot.
  • At 6:54 p.m., an Eau Claire Police officer successfully ended the pursuit by using his squad car to physically disable the suspect's vehicle.
  • The suspect then exited the black SUV, armed with a handgun, and fled on foot in the direction of the Culver's restaurant on Brackett Avenue.
  • Still armed with a handgun, the suspect approached an occupied white pick-up truck that was stopped at the Culver's drive-thru window. He physically pulled on the door handle of the truck, attempting to gain entry.
  • Eau Claire Police Officer Jason Ruppert arrived and confronted the suspect. The police officer issued several voice commands for the suspect to drop the gun; however, the suspect did not comply. The suspect began walking toward the officer and around the front of the vehicle toward the eastside entrance to Culver's.
  • At 6:56 p.m., Officer Ruppert fired his duty weapon, ending the threat presented by the suspect.
  • Additional Eau Claire Police officers arrived on scene and secured the suspect. Several officers then immediately started performing first aid and CPR on the suspect in an attempt to save his life. The officers continued until EMS arrived.
  • The suspect was transported to an area hospital by Eau Claire Fire / Rescue, where he died as a result of his injuries.
  • The suspect has been identified as:

Christian A.N. Peterson
03/25/1988 (24 years old)
524 Franklin
Wausau, WI

The officer-involved shooting is still under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation. The traffic-related crashes are being investigated by the Wisconsin State Patrol. The other related crimes that occurred within the City of Eau Claire are being investigated by the Eau Claire Police Department Detective Division.

**************************

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Police are calling what happened Friday night a complicated situation. It began with a car chase in Altoona Friday night, and ended with a shooting. They are not releasing any new information right now, including the suspects name. They say the entire situation involves multiple agencies, and could take a while to piece it all together.

"At approximately 6:30 p.m. a vehicle pursuit began in the City of Altoona involving several agencies. The pursuit continued into the city of Eau Claire where Eau Claire Police officers became involved in the pursuit," said Eau Claire Police Department's Officer Kyle Roder.

Eau Claire police say the pursuit led officers into the 3rd Ward of the city.

"I was having dinner inside, just across the street and heard a very loud tire screeching, and then a loud crash. It was so loud that my heart started racing right away," said Susannah Saxman, who was in Eau Claire visiting friends.

"I imagine he was headed up towards Brackett, but there was a family pulling out behind you, so he tries to make a turn. An SUV comes from behind me here, and he hits them broadside and pushes them all the way across the intersection," said Jamie Radabaugh, who lives in the 3rd Ward.

Shortly after that, police say the suspect left his vehicle and fled on foot. Then, police received a report of a home invasion by an armed suspect. Officers say the suspect got a hold of another vehicle and after leaving the 3rd Ward was spotted again by police. They say that chase was brought to a halt near the parking lot of Wagner lanes.

"It seemed like ten, twenty police cars…they were all in here. We all came outside with some customers who were watching the action. We came outside and we noticed a guy in the drainage area here where all the runoff goes," said Sam Hetzel, who works for the Jimmy Johns on Brackett Avenue.

Witnesses who saw the incident say the suspect was a male wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Sam says police were giving him plenty of space, until he made a run for a fence. He says he saw police use a swat vehicle to bust through the fence in their pursuit. Shortly after that, Sam says he heard shots fired.

"They all had their guns drawn on him, so when they shot, it sounded like 6, 7, 8 gunshots within a second you know? Just like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop…you could kind of assume that was them shooting the guy," Hetzel said.

Police say the suspect was shot by an Eau Claire police officer in the area of Culver's. He was transported to a local hospital but did not survive his injuries.

"I've lived here my whole life, but it's definitely eye opening, definitely a little bit scary. Definitely, you know, makes me worried for stuff in the future," said Hetzel.

Eau Claire police say they, along with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin State Patrol, are still actively investigating. More information could be released on Monday. 

********************************

A chase ends with gunfire in the parking lot of an Eau Claire restaurant.  The suspect at the center of the chase has died.

The incident started around 6:30 Friday evening.  An officer attempted to pull over a vehicle in Altoona when the man behind the wheel sped up and lead police on a chase into Eau Claire. The pursuit led into the city's 3rd ward where the suspect crashed. A short time later a home invasion was reported, the caller told police the man was armed.  

Soon after the man was spotted behind the wheel of another vehicle and a second chase began. An eyewitness tells WQOW News 18 they saw a black SUV speeding down Clairemont Avenue with multiple police cars chasing behind.  It appears that chase ended in the parking lot of Wagner's Lanes in Eau Claire, where a WQOW News 18 reporter says a black SUV that looked like it had been in an accident had been abandoned.  Police say the suspect fled on foot and was shot by an Eau Claire police officer in the parking lot of Culver's.

"Within a minute every squad car, swat team, fire truck and ambulance was over here blocking off roads. Within another 30 seconds they were out of their cars with shotguns, the whole nine yards," says Dallas Bennett, a witness and assistant manager at the nearby Taco John's.  "They said stay inside, lock your doors.  I brought all my employees to the back of the store, got all the customers in the back out of the way. I just made sure everyone was safe.  After that, I heard a couple of shots fired over at Culver's."

The suspect was taken to a local hospital where he died.  The suspect's name is not being released at this time.  As of late Friday night, roads near Brackett Avenue remained closed while police investigate the incident.

*********************

Eau Claire (Press Release from ECPD) - On 10-05-12 at approximately 6:30 p.m. a vehicle pursuit began in the City of Altoona involving several agencies. The pursuit continued into the City of Eau Claire when Eau Claire Police officers became involved in the pursuit.

The pursuit led into the 3rd Ward area of Eau Claire where the suspect vehicle crashed and the suspect fled on foot. A short time later a home invasion was reported in that area and the caller advised that the suspect was armed. The suspect acquired another vehicle and shortly after leaving the 3rd Ward was spotted again by police at which time a second pursuit ensued. This pursuit ended in the area of Culver's where an Eau Claire Police Officer shot the armed suspect in the parking lot. The suspect was transported to a local hospital and did not survive his injuries.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin State Patrol will be assisting in the investigation of this incident.

The suspect is not being identified at this time. The Eau Claire Police will not be answering any further questions at this time. Further information will be provided in the near future after further investigations.

*****************

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Police are responding to an incident in the City of Eau Claire.

According to a WQOW News 18 reporter on the scene, it appears an SUV and car collided near Wagner's Lanes.  The reporter says Brackett Avenue is now blocked from Hastings Way to Keith Street. 

An assistant manager at a nearby Taco John's tells WQOW News 18 they saw police running across the parking lot of Culver's and heard what sounded like gun shots.  Our reporter says police are now inside Culver's talking to customers.

The media contact for the police department is on scene.  Officer Kyle Roder says police do not have any information to pass along at this time.

Continue to follow WQOW News 18 online and on air for new information as it becomes available.

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