EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (NEWS RELEASE) On Friday, October 5, 2012, the Eau Claire Police Department was involved in multiple incidents that ultimately ended with an officer-involved shooting.
K-9 Officer Jason Ruppert, a 15 year veteran of the Eau Claire Police Department, arrived at the Culver's restaurant parking lot on Brackett Avenue in response to a chain of events that had previously transpired throughout the City of Eau Claire. Upon arrival, Officer Ruppert observed the suspect with a gun in his hand, attempting to force entry into an occupied vehicle which was stopped at the Culver's drive-thru window. As Officer Ruppert issued multiple direct voice commands to the suspect to drop his gun, the suspect moved toward Officer Ruppert and around the front of the vehicle toward the eastside entrance to Culver's. Officer Ruppert fired his duty weapon, ending the threat presented by the suspect.
Eau Claire Chief of Police Jerry Matysik says, "Officer Ruppert took appropriate, decisive action to stop a significant threat to our community. He repeatedly ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect did not comply. Officer Ruppert therefore used deadly force to protect both an innocent citizen and others in the immediate vicinity."
The incidents on Friday evening originally stemmed from an investigation by another law enforcement agency in an adjacent jurisdiction. The cases involved multiple scenes to include traffic crashes, a home invasion, stolen vehicles and an officer-involved shooting. This series of events continues to be investigated by several different law enforcement agencies as information continues to be gathered and witnesses are still being interviewed. The Eau Claire Police Department does not yet have access to all of the details.
In an effort to provide as much information to the public as possible, the following information is known at this time. More details will be released after the various investigations have been completed.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the Eau Claire Communications Center advised Eau Claire Police officers of a hit-and-run crash involving multiple vehicles in the Perkins parking lot at 2025 Highland Ave. Another law enforcement agency was actively pursuing the suspect vehicle from that location.
At 6:42 p.m., Eau Claire Police officers were advised of another hit-and-run crash at Jefferson and Farwell Streets, which resulted in injuries to a motorist in the struck vehicle. The Eau Claire Communications Center advised Eau Claire Police officers that the suspect involved in the hit-and-run crashes was on foot in the Third Ward neighborhood. Eau Claire Police officers then began to set up a perimeter to locate and contain the suspect.
At 6:47 p.m., the Eau Claire Communications Center advised that an armed home invasion had just been reported at a residence in the 400 block of Roosevelt Avenue. The suspect entered the house armed with a gun, confronted the resident and demanded the keys to the resident's vehicle. He then fled in the resident's black SUV. Eau Claire Police officers were given the vehicle description.
An Eau Claire Police officer observed the stolen SUV westbound on the Water Street Bridge and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on that vehicle. The suspect then tried to elude officers by making several turns through the Water Street neighborhood. The pursuit continued westbound on Water Street at which time another Eau Claire Police officer successfully deployed a controlled tire deflation device at the intersection of Water Street and 8th Avenue. With damage to the vehicle's tires, the suspect continued to flee westbound onto Menomonie Street before turning southbound on Clairemont Avenue.
The vehicle pursuit continued on Clairemont Avenue to Hendrickson Drive, at which time the black SUV exited Clairemont Avenue across the grass onto the service road near the Shopko parking lot. The suspect continued eastbound on the service road, turned northbound on Stein Boulevard and then again turned eastbound onto Clairemont Avenue.
The pursuit continued on Clairemont Avenue at speeds up to 75 mph. The suspect then made a left turn northbound at London Road in the wrong direction into oncoming traffic on the off-ramp from southbound S. Hastings Way.
The suspect continued northbound on S. Hastings Way before turning westbound on Kirk Street and ultimately into the southeast corner of Wagner's Lanes parking lot.
At 6:54 p.m., an Eau Claire Police officer successfully ended the pursuit by using his squad car to physically disable the suspect's vehicle.
The suspect then exited the black SUV, armed with a handgun, and fled on foot in the direction of the Culver's restaurant on Brackett Avenue.
Still armed with a handgun, the suspect approached an occupied white pick-up truck that was stopped at the Culver's drive-thru window. He physically pulled on the door handle of the truck, attempting to gain entry.
Eau Claire Police Officer Jason Ruppert arrived and confronted the suspect. The police officer issued several voice commands for the suspect to drop the gun; however, the suspect did not comply. The suspect began walking toward the officer and around the front of the vehicle toward the eastside entrance to Culver's.
At 6:56 p.m., Officer Ruppert fired his duty weapon, ending the threat presented by the suspect.
Additional Eau Claire Police officers arrived on scene and secured the suspect. Several officers then immediately started performing first aid and CPR on the suspect in an attempt to save his life. The officers continued until EMS arrived.
The suspect was transported to an area hospital by Eau Claire Fire / Rescue, where he died as a result of his injuries. The suspect has been identified as:
Christian A.N. Peterson
03/25/1988 (24 years old)
The officer-involved shooting is still under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation. The traffic-related crashes are being investigated by the Wisconsin State Patrol. The other related crimes that occurred within the City of Eau Claire are being investigated by the Eau Claire Police Department Detective Division.