'Just heartbroken:' West Bend alderman dies in tragic hunting accident

Wisconsin’s DNR is reporting that a man has died during the opening weekend of gun deer season. The victim has been identified as an alderman from the city of West Bend.

“He was just a nice person, sensible, took all of his responsibilities seriously," said Ald. Jed Dolnick of West Bend.

City of West Bend Alderman and Council President Steve Hoogester

Somber words about this man — City of West Bend Alderman and Council President Steve Hoogester. 

According to the Washington Island Police Department, Hoogester died this weekend as a result of a tragic hunting accident.

“Many friends in this area and I know that everybody is just heartbroken over this," Dolnick said.

Officials with the state’s Department of Natural Resources say the exact cause of death is still under investigation.

However, initial findings have lead authorities to believe Hoogester was coming out of a "ground blind” when he tripped, and accidentally shot himself.

The 65-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It was terrible, just terrible, I couldn’t believe it," Dolnick said.

A fellow alderman says he knew Hoogester for decades — and that he was a good man, through and through.

“Well, this is just devastating to hear. Steve and I started on separate departments in law enforcement here in Washington County, and that was more than 40 years ago," Dolnick said.

As many mourn his passing, this city leader says his absence will be noticed.

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“His loss is going to be felt for a long time," he said.

DNR officials say that there were three other incidents this weekend, related to accidental shootings. All of them are being investigated.

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