WAUKESHA COUNTY -- 34-year-old Dale Schaefer of Hartland has now been criminally charged -- accused of disarming a Waukesha County Sheriff’s deputy and firing two rounds. The incident happened last Monday afternoon, August 17th inside the Waukesha County Juvenile Center.
Schaefer is facing the following criminal charges:
According to the criminal complaint, just before 3:30 p.m. on August 17th, officers were advised their assistance was required at the Waukesha County Juvenile Center on Riverview Avenue. Officials learned a Waukesha County Sheriff's deputy had been involved in a shooting. The Waukesha Police Department was requested to conduct the investigation into this incident.
"This happened in our workplace! This makes it very unique. It`s rare that I`m investigating something like this that happens in my own workplace," Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper told FOX6 News.
The complaint indicates a detective spoke with Schaefer's wife, who indicated she was with Schaefer at the Juvenile Center for a court hearing. The woman said she was seated on a bench with her attorney and a social worker when Schaefer's attorney advised that Schaefer may have been drinking earlier that day. That information was forwarded to a Waukesha County Sheriff's deputy, who asked Schaefer to submit to a preliminary breath test.
Schaefer's wife told officials she watched as Schaefer and the deputy entered a meeting room, and moments later, she heard what she believed to be gunshots coming from the room.
A detective spoke with the deputy involved in this situation -- and that deputy indicated he was approached and advised that Schaefer may have been intoxicated. When he made contact with Schaefer, the deputy said he could smell an odor of intoxicants coming from his person, and the deputy said Schaefer admitted to him that he had been drinking earlier in the day.
Waukesha County Juvenile Center
The complaint indicates the deputy retrieved a preliminary breath test kit and escorted Schaefer into a small conference room. The PBT result showed .23 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, according to the complaint.
At that point, the complaint indicates the deputy told Schaefer they would need to go before the court commissioner and notify him of the situation.
The deputy then turned around, and as he did this, he told officials he could feel pressure on his holster, and he believed Schaefer was removing his service weapon from the holster.
The complaint indicates the deputy immediately performed a "wall stun" -- pushing Schaefer into the wall -- struggling to keep from being shot.
The deputy reported that he feared for his life.
As the deputy held Schaefer against the wall, the complaint indicates Schaefer was able to fire two rounds from the deputy's service weapon. One bullet went into a wall, and the other went into Schaefer's left thigh.
Waukesha County Juvenile Center
The complaint indicates during the struggle, the gun fell out of Schaefer's hand. The deputy was then able to control Schaefer on the ground until help arrived.
Schaefer was then handcuffed and the deputy retrieved his weapon.
Officials spoke with a deputy who administered first aid to Schaefer, and who also rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital. The complaint indicates a paramedic was speaking with Schaefer inside the ambulance, and he told the paramedic he had disarmed a deputy and a round went off. The complaint says Schaefer indicated "he wasn't going to hurt anyone other than himself."
At Froedtert Hospital, the complaint says Schaefer told medical personnel he "took a deputy's gun, and wanted to put it in his mouth, but didn't get it there."
Schaefer received medical treatment for non life-threatening injuries.
Officials spoke with Schaefer at the hospital, and he indicated around 2:20 p.m., he had arrived at the Waukesha County Juvenile Center for a court hearing. He said he spoke with his attorney, and she asked him if he had any further questions. He then said: "Yeah, do I smell like alcohol?" The complaint indicates Schaefer's attorney asked him whether he had been drinking, and he said: "A little." Schaefer's attorney then told him she had an ethical responsibility to tell the judge. Schaefer told officials he "begged her not to."
Schaefer told officials after the deputy escorted him into the meeting room and he blew for his preliminary breath test: "I was so panicked. I felt like this was it. I didn't want to go to jail. I screwed up again. I already lied to my mom and her pastor about me drinking today. I have been thinking about killing myself for two weeks. I didn't want to be there today. I thought it had to be quick. I have the solution right in front of me. I was just going to grab his gun, stick it in my mouth and end it."
Schaefer said during the struggle with the deputy after he grabbed the gun, "I tried to get him off of me so I could hurt myself. I wanted him to get off of me so I could use his gun myself. I didn't want to hurt the deputy," according to the complaint.
Schaefer further indicated to officials: "I fired two rounds so he would back up, so I would have enough time to use it on myself. I never wanted to hurt him. I just wanted to hurt myself," according to the complaint.
Schaefer is being held on $15,000 cash bail. He's been ordered to consume no alcohol and he cannot be in possession of firearms.
"You can make some reasonable conclusions that this is an individual who has some on-going needs. By its very nature, to disarm a police officer is a felony," Opper said.
A news release issued by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department indicates the Waukesha County District Attorney's Office has completed its review of this case, and has determined that there was no misconduct by the deputy involved in this case.
The deputy was initially placed on administrative leave, and will now begin the process of returning to full duty.
Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper said this in a statement issued to FOX6 News:
"This incident is a reminder of the danger presented to law enforcement officers on a daily basis, and the fact that there is no such thing as a routine encounter. I would like to commend the members of the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department who reacted and immediately took control and isolated the incident to protect several other people who were present at the Juvenile Center at the time. Furthermore, the City of Waukesha Police Department conducted a thorough and efficient investigation."