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Mitchell Lundgaard: Authorities identify Appleton firefighter killed in shooting

Posted at 5:47 PM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 18:48:58-04

The firefighter killed after a shooting in downtown Appleton on Wednesday has been identified as Firefighter Mitch Lundgaard. Appleton Fire says Lundgaard was married with three young children. Lundgaard began his career with the Appleton Fire Department in 2005.

According to a Facebook post from Appleton Fire Department, crews responded to the 100 block of E. Washington St. at around 5:30pm Wednesday to assist a 47-year-old man who was arriving on a bus from out of the area.

Appleton Fire says the initial report stated the man was having a medical emergency. The first responders provided initial medical assistance to the male on the bus, who Appleton Police say was having a seizure. Appleton Fire says the man, believed to be from the Wausau area, eventually left the bus and started walking towards the library.

Appleton Police say at some point, the man displayed a handgun. Police say the incident escalated and shots were exchanged between the man and police officers.

Firefighter Lundgaard was struck by gunfire along with a female bystander, and an Appleton Police Officer. The police officer was released from the hospital earlier today. The female is in stable condition. The 47-year-old man was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

Thursday afternoon, Lundgaard's body was taken from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner back to Appleton. The journey up the freeway was dotted with emergency vehicles on overpasses, paying their respects to the fallen firefighters. Through driving rain, a cavalcade of law enforcement vehicles carried Lundgaard back to Appleton where residents lined the streets to honor their fallen hero.

A quiet respect fell upon the crowd, only being disrupted by a light May wind and the low hum of dozens of vehicles with names of various Wisconsin cities and towns on their doors.

People of all ages filled the sidewalks for the procession, including Jeanne Vanden Boogaard of Appleton. She brought her granddaughter to experience the event and pay respects.

"She saw on the news that a firefighter had died," Vanden Boogaard said. "I explained to her, he was doing a good deed. It's important for us to support them because so often, we choose to pick them a part. It's a very somber day. Very humble for the great people we have taking care of our cities and doing things we need them to do."

The investigation is being led by the Green Bay Police Department.

A funeral for Firefighter Lundgaard has been scheduled for Monday at Appleton Alliance Church. The exact time for the funeral has not yet been set.