MILWAUKEE (AP) — Prosecutors filed murder and attempted first-degree intentional homicide charges Wednesday against the man arrested in a hostage standoff at a Wisconsin motorcycle shop.
A shop worker died and a police officer was injured when a bullet bounced off his helmet in the four-hour encounter on Dec. 5 at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah.
According to newly filed charging documents, Brian Flatoff, 45, took hostages and fired the shot that hit Officer Craig Hoffer’s helmet when police tried to rescue the victims.
Flatoff faces a list of other felony charges — including hostage taking, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment — from the standoff and the hours that preceded it.
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Authorities say that before Flatoff went to the shop, he fired a bullet into a woman’s bedroom wall after a night of drinking. A short time later, Flatoff went to Eagle Cycles to get back a bike he considered stolen and pulled a gun on Michael Funk and others, according to Winnebago County prosecutors. He began shooting when police arrived.
Funk left the shop after the officers pulled back, stepping into an alley where he encountered police who say he was armed and wouldn’t drop his gun as he was told.
Neenah police have said one or more officers opened fire on Funk and that the gunman inside also may have shot at him.
Funk, 60, died of his wounds. His wife, attorney and longtime business partner all have said he was a hostage who shouldn’t have been killed.
Investigators haven’t said who they think fatally shot Funk. Wisconsin Department of Justice spokeswoman Anne Schwartz has said that remains part of the probe. She said she had no new information Wednesday.
Prosecutors can bring felony murder charges against a suspect if certain crimes, such as false imprisonment, lead to a death.
Flatoff’s attorney, Colleen Bradley, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, but she suggested in court Tuesday that he might not be competent to stand trial. He could be sentenced to 60 years in prison on each of the two attempted first-degree homicide charges and the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide.
Neenah police have said three officers were placed on administrative leave after the standoff. Hoffer was treated at a hospital and released.