KEWASKUM — In an update on the triple Kewaskum slaying on Wednesday, Washington County investigators conclude a local man broke into an elderly couple's home and fatally shot a 72-year-old resident, and then entered a neighbor's home, stole a shotgun and fatally shot a 77-year-old resident.
When law enforcement arrived, officers opened fire on the suspect, hitting him, and later found him dead nearby.
Lt. Tim Kemps with the Washington County Sheriff's Office released a more detailed account of the tragic slayings on Friday. The incident earlier this week led to a massive police presence including heavily armed SWAT teams, a police perimeter and closed roads for hours.
Also on Friday, a family has identified one of the two victims as 72-year-old Ray L. Engelking. The family of Engelking agreed to confirm his identity and issue a statement about him and the incident that cut his life short. You can read that statement here.
The incident began around 2:30 p.m. when a 30-year-old West Bend man stole a car in the city. About 15 minutes later, he appears to have crashed and rolled the stolen car after failing to make a turn on icy roads, along Forest View Road in the Town of Kewaskum.
The suspect was able to break out of the wreck, and proceeded to break into a nearby, unoccupied home, investigators say.
Meanwhile, a 52-year-old Port Washington woman came upon the crashed, stolen car to check if anyone needed help. That's when the suspect approached her, physically assaulted her and attempted to take her car, according to investigators. He then crashed that car while leaving the driveway.
The suspect ran to another nearby home in the 8100 block of Forest View Road. Around 2:50 p.m., the suspect forced himself through a locked front door and encountered the elderly owners of that home.
The suspect demanded and got keys to the homeowners' car, investigators say. He tried to drive away but was not able to get the car started. He then went back into the home and physically assaulted the elderly couple, and then returned to the vehicle to try to start it again.
During that brief moment, one of the residents, a 72-year-old man, retrieved a handgun for his protection. The suspect returned, was able to overpower the resident and turned the gun on him, shooting and killing the 72-year-old man, according to authorities.
The suspect tried to also shoot the victim's wife, but the weapon did not fire, according to investigators. The suspect then left the home on foot.
Investigators continue that the suspect went to a home in the 8200 block of Forest View Road, where he encountered another resident. The suspect decided to break into the 77-year-old's home and steal a shotgun. He then used the weapon to fatally shoot the elderly man outside his garage, according to authorities. The suspect then ran away.
This second homicide was not seen by any witnesses, investigators say, and all of the victims were random and not known to the suspect.
Encounter with police
Just after 3 p.m., law enforcement arriving in the area found the armed suspect on Forest View Road near the scene of the second homicide. A deputy and the suspect exchanged fire, and the suspect was hit by a single round, investigators say.
Law enforcement formed a perimeter around the scene and deployed a drone, which later located the suspect a short distance away.
Officers found the suspect dead from an apparent gunshot wound, with the firearm at his side.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office identifies the deputy who fired their weapon as a nine-year veteran of the office, wo has been placed on administrative leave as standard procedure. He was not injured in the shoot-out.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis issued the following statement on the incident:
“This horrific incident has struck this community and our agency at its core. We lost two valuable members of our community at the hands of this senseless crime spree. Their absence will impact many and we mourn with you. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies go out to the surviving victims and families of the deceased whose lives are forever changed. There are many more questions to be answered as to why this occurred. I assure the community that investigators are working diligently to be able to provide those answers. In the meantime, we ask that the public respect the privacy of the victims and their families and allow them to grieve.”
“Our deputies never want to be placed in the position where they are required to use lethal force against our citizens. I am proud of the overwhelming law enforcement call to action which no doubt mitigated further violence from occurring; however, that does not provide peace to the loved ones of our victims. I believe the deputy’s actions were tragically necessary to protect the deputy and the community he took an oath to protect. Ultimately the independent investigation will be forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office to review, but our deputy’s actions ended a murderous rampage within our community.”