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Authorities identify suspect fatally shot by State Troopers following pursuit, carjacking

Posted at 2:43 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 19:10:54-05

FORT ATKINSON — Authorities have identified the man who was shot and killed by State troopers following an alleged carjacking and police pursuit through Jefferson County last week.

The Department of Justice, which is investigating the case, identified the suspect Wednesday as 23-year-old Joseph R. Crawford. He died from multiple gunshot wounds at the scene of the shooting.

The DOJ also identified the passenger of Crawford's vehicle as Desmond Watkins, 22, who got out of the vehicle before Crawford allegedly took law enforcement on a police chase.

Three Wisconsin State Patrol troopers were involved in the fatal shooting. They are identified as:

  • Trooper Keegan Williams, five years of law enforcement experience
  • Trooper Alexander Polizzi, three years of law enforcement experience
  • Trooper David Heinisch, one year of law enforcement experience

All three troopers have been placed on administrative leave, as is typical for officer-involved shootings.

In the update, the DOJ explained that Crawford has also been identified as a suspect in a bank robbery in Monona on the same day as the pursuit and fatal shooting. The DOJ says State troopers did not know Crawford was involved in the bank robbery when they attempted to pull him over.

As TMJ4 News reported, around 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, troopers attempted a traffic stop on Highway 26 between Watertown and Johnson Creek. The DOJ states that the vehicle stopped for a short time, and a passenger got out and was later apprehended. The driver of the vehicle sped off.

The troopers pursued the vehicle down Highway 26. During the pursuit, the driver pulled out a gun and fired several shots at the pursuing troopers, according to the DOJ.

The vehicle then drove over road spikes, shredding its tires. The suspect exited Highway 26 onto Highway 12, where the vehicle came to a stop in the median under the highway.

That's when the driver got out of the vehicle, armed with a handgun, and attempted to carjack a vehicle.

Three Wisconsin State Patrol troopers then fired their weapons at the suspect, striking Crawford, the DOJ states.

Law enforcement attempted life-saving measures, but Crawford died from his injuries. A medical helicopter was later spotted landing and then lifting off from the scene of the incident.
No law enforcement personnel were injured in the incident.

The DOJ's DCI is assisted in their investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, and the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services. The DCI will turn over investigative reports to the Jefferson County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.

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