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Next door neighbor describes witnessing Sussex standoff from inside her home

"I’m sharing a wall with him. If there was going to be an exchange, those bullets could come into my living room," said Michelle Nichols.
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Posted at 9:53 PM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 23:12:02-05

SUSSEX, Wis. — Michelle Nichols has lived in her Sussex condo for six years. She was alone and working from home when police swarmed the outside of her door Thursday afternoon.

She described seeing dozens of officers surrounding her unit.

“I saw shotguns, handguns, bulletproof vests, there was a dog-- and I’m just peeking out my window.”

That's when an officer told her through the window to get down and lock her doors.

At that time, Nichols had no idea what was going on. She started hearing from friends who were following police scanners that there was a suspected shooter barricaded somewhere in her complex.

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“I talked to Nicole, my neighbor who lives on the other side of the park, and she's sending me videos so I knew which unit it was,” explained Nichols.

That was how she discovered the suspect lived in the condo she shared a wall with.

“I’m terrified,” she recalled. “I sat actually right over there on the ground trying to get as far away as I could from that wall, because if the cops are going to shoot at him or he's going to shoot, what if something comes through my wall and gets me?”

Police say Nichols’ neighbor, a 37-year-old man, was the suspect they were trying to apprehend.

The pursuit began earlier in the day in Hartland, after the police department was dispatched to a business on Richards Road regarding a man shooting a gun in the parking lot.

The suspect then led officers on a car chase to the Sussex home he barricaded himself inside.

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Police at the scene of the Sussex incident.

Nichols told TMJ4 that she didn’t know much about her neighbor but has never found him to be scary or threatening. She was shocked this happened in her neighborhood.

“I moved from Waukesha to Pewaukee and eventually to Sussex for the schools and for safety and I’m shocked.”

Her children were both in lockdown at Woodside school across the street from her home when the incident was taking place. Nichols says her daughter was terrified hearing it was happening near her home.

“My daughter said she was crying in school wanting to come home by me, but that would’ve been the worst place to be.”

After hours of negotiations, the suspect surrendered himself to police custody. For those nearly two hours, multiple schools were in lockdown and both students and parents were waiting for answers.

The event is still under investigation, but police say no one was harmed and there is no longer a threat to the public.

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