Neenah’s mayor and police chief tell Action 2 News that three police officers in the Neenah Police Department were placed on administrative leave Sunday morning, a day after a hostage situation led to an officer-involved shooting and a man’s death. Mayor Dean Kaufert and Chief Kevin Wilkinson said that’s common procedure after an officer-involved shooting.
The Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office tells Action 2 News the man arrested for Saturday’s hostage situation at Eagle Nation Cycles Neenah is Brian Flatoff. No further details were released on the arrest of the 45-year-old Flatoff or on when he will appear in court.
An attorney identified the man who was shot and died as Michael L. Funk. Attorney Cole White represented Funk in a lawsuit against the city of Neenah.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson provided an update on the shooting and standoff situation, which began Saturday morning and lasted into the afternoon.
Police were called to the 200 block of Main Street at Eagle Nation Cycles at 8:56 a.m. Within 30 minutes, police learned that hostages inside the building were in immediate danger of being killed. Wilkinson estimated there were more than three, but less than ten hostages. Officers were shot at while attempting to enter the building to rescue the hostages, and one Neenah officer was hit. He was treated at a local hospital and was released a few hours later. Wilkinson said the gunfire struck his ballistic helmet, which ultimately saved his life.
Wilkinson said between 75-80 officers were on the scene.
A short time later, a man exited the building with a gun. Wilkinson said the man did not comply with officers’ demands for him to drop the weapon and officers shot him. He later died at ThedaClark Hospital. Wilkinson says it’s unclear whether he had been shot inside the business prior to walking out in front of police. Police say the man was not an initial suspect in the incident.
Attorney White said Funk wan an employee of the cycle shop, and had been held hostage.
As for the suspect, the Neenah Police Department’s hostage negotiation team spent several hours negotiating with him. The hostages were freed and unharmed. Just after 1 p.m., the suspect surrendered and was taken into custody.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation will continue to investigate the incident, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
ATF is sending agents from Milwaukee to help with the investigation, which is routine in active shooter incidents, said Martin Siebenaler, a Divisions Operations Officer and acting public information officer with the ATF in St. Paul, Minn.
According to Siebenaler, federal agents will assist with tracing the firearm and a variety of other activities.
While local police are not releasing the names of victims or the suspects at this time, the chief had kind words to say about how the department managed a very serious situation.
“The Neenah police officers who were quickly on scene today are among the most highly-trained officers in the state in handling critical incidents, and I am very proud of the skill and character that our team demonstrated in the face of very difficult and dangerous circumstances. I also want to thank the citizens and our city council for supplying us with the necessary training and equipment to safely handle these kind of life-threatening incidents,” said Chief Wilkinson.
Earlier Saturday, police held another press conference.
During the 1:30 p.m. press conference, Wilkinson announced that the scene was now secure.
“I can tell the citizens now that the scene has been made safe,” he said.
Earlier, Neenah Police evacuated a number of homes and businesses in the area. Residents who lived within a 1/4 mile radius from Main and Doty Streets were told to shelter in place away from windows, in a basement if possible. The request came in response to the shooting. Police say a man walked into the store and fired a weapon.
Other agencies involved included: The Wisconsin State Patrol, Winnebago and Outagamie County Sheriff’s Offices, Neenah Police, Town of Menasha Police, City of Menasha Police, the Fond du Lac Police Department, and the Appleton Police (SWAT Team).
Ellery McCardle, Rhonda Roberts, Emily Matesic, and Michelle Clemens contributed to this report.