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MADISON - First, let me say that our thoughts & prayers go out to the families of the victims, their loved ones, their classmates, and their community. No parent, no community, should have to endure what they now must endure due to this tragedy.
We in law enforcement stand side by side with the families as they grieve. Though violence so terrible and tragic will never make sense, we will continue to investigate this matter so that we can establish an understanding of what precisely occurred Sunday morning.
We know that you are here for answers to questions. What occurred? Why did it happen? How did it end? We are seeking answers to those questions, too. And we are developing answers to these questions by thoroughly investigating this matter; conducting interviews, reviewing interview information, and processing and examining the crime scene. This investigation is ongoing.
Here's what we can confirm now:
All evidence, from multiple sources, indicates that the perpetrator of this vicious multiple homicide was Tyler Peterson, and only Tyler Peterson.
At approximately 2:47 am, early Sunday morning, Peterson entered a building at 201 North Hazeldell Apt B, in Crandon. An argument ensued. Peterson then left the building, retrieved a rifle from his truck, forcibly entered the apartment, and began to open fire. Approximately 30 rounds were fired inside the apartment.
Ultimately, six people were killed in the apartment. Their names are:
There was a single survivor, who was shot and has been interviewed by the Department of Justice.
After Peterson opened fire in the apartment, he left the apartment and began to fire numerous rounds at a responding Crandon Police Officer, Greg Carter, striking his police cruiser. Officer Carter was injured. Peterson then fled.
Crandon Police Chief John Dennee then requested the assistance of Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation as well as the State Crime Lab. We responded immediately, and agents and DOJ personnel were dispatched to the area. Due to the nature of the investigation and the suspect, the Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation immediately assumed its role as lead investigative agency, and continues to act as such.
After fleeing the scene, Peterson was a fugitive. Peterson had telephone conversations with law enforcement officials, including Crandon Chief of Police John Dennee, confirming he was the shooter.
Mid to late morning on Sunday, Peterson was located at a residence in the Town of Argonne. Contact was established and maintained with the suspect. Ultimately, however, shots were fired both by law enforcement and Mr. Peterson. There have been statements made about the cause of Mr. Peterson's death. At this time, this is a matter of ongoing investigation. It is premature to speculate as to precise cause of death. We hope to have additional information once the autopsy is completed.
Autopsies on all seven deceased are scheduled today. Law enforcement will release additional information as it becomes available.
The investigation is fluid and ongoing. The Department of Justice, through the Division of Criminal Investigation and our State Crime Laboratories, is working diligently to complete the investigation of the multiple homicides and Peterson's subsequent death. We are working deliberately, but with all deliberate speed.
The Crandon Police Department was the first responder to the shots at the apartment, and quickly requested law enforcement backup. Numerous agencies responded and provided assistance, including the Oneida County Sherriff's Department, Langlade County Sherriff's Department, the State Patrol, Vilas County Sherriff's Department, Oconto Sherriff's Department, Laona Police Department, and the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation sent agents from throughout the state to the scenes. All told, over two dozen DCI agents have participated in aspects of this investigation. Department of Justice State Crime Laboratory personnel were also dispatched, and they processed and continued today to process the scenes. I thank everyone for their assistance.
There has been a lot of information given about this case, some accurate, some based on speculation. Please understand the collection and analysis of information is a time consuming and deliberative process, and we are working as fast as possible without sacrificing the quality of the investigation. Over the next couple of days, we will provide information to the media through news releases and other means.
Mr. Peterson, the gunman, was employed by the Crandon Police Department and the Forest County Sherriff's Department. These agencies have cooperated fully with the investigation.
I am going to now turn this over to Crandon Chief of Police Dennee and Forest County Sherriff Van Cleve to discuss Tyler Peterson's employment with the Sherriff's Department and Crandon Police Department.