By TODD RICHMOND
A man killed by Wisconsin police was acting erratically at a car repair shop and in the parking lot of a suburban Milwaukee school and unsuccessfully tried to enter the building before climbing on its roof and exchanging gunfire with officers, authorities said Tuesday.
Dozens of students were in the building during the exchange of gunfire but none were hurt, officials said.
The incident began around 6:30 p.m. Monday when officers with the Germantown Police Department responded to a call of a man acting “erratically” in Kennedy Middle School’s parking lot and trying to enter the locked school, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said. When officers arrived the man climbed onto the school’s roof and fired at them.
Three officers returned fire, killing the man, the statement said. As many as 70 students were in the school, which went into a lockdown. The students were later bused to an elementary school where they were reunited with family.
“This is believed to be an isolated incident,” the Justice Department’s initial statement said late Monday, adding that there’s no danger to the public. “All interactions with the subject occurred outside of the building.”
In an updated statement Tuesday afternoon, the department said the man was driving a car with out-of-state license plates when it broken down. He was at a repair shop when he began acting “erratically,” walked away from the business and went to the school lot, where police confronted him.
The school district canceled all classes on Tuesday. The three officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave as per department policy.
The Justice Department is leading the investigation into the incident. The department’s spokesperson, Gillian Drummond, declined to release the person’s name or age on Tuesday.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Germantown Police Chief Mike Snow said investigators don’t believe the person was “targeting anything.” He declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
Germantown School District Superintendent Chris Reuter posted a message on Facebook early Tuesday afternoon reiterating that the incident was an isolated event and there’s no threat to school safety.
Reuter said classes would resume around the district on Wednesday except at the middle school since students won’t be able to access the building for an unknown length of time.