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Officers who shot northern Wisconsin man who killed 4 will not face charges

Glen Moberg

Wisconsin Public Radio

Two law enforcement officers will not face charges in the death of a man who killed four people, including a police detective, in a Wausau-area shooting spree March 22.

In a report released Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice cleared Marathon County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Bell and Everest Metro Police Detective Sgt. Dan Goff in the shooting death of Nengmy Vang.

Upset with a pending divorce, Vang shot and killed Karen Barclay and Dianne Look at a bank in Rothschild where his estranged wife worked. He then drove to a law office in nearby Schofield and shot and killed his wife's attorney, Sara Quirt Sann. He returned to his apartment, and shot and killed Everest Metro Det. Jason Weiland as he was exiting his car. The bullet traveled 100 yards, according to the DOJ report.

After Weiland was gunned down, Goff returned fire, hitting Vang in the shoulder, according to what he told a dispatcher in a 911 call he made from the apartment.

Vang refused to surrender during a more than three-hour standoff. According to the report, he became belligerent after the power was turned off, and asked a law enforcement negotiator "if he wanted another cop to die."

Officers used armored cars with extension arms to pull down portions of the apartment’s windows and walls in an effort to resolve the standoff. Vang fired another shot at police, and Bell returned fire.

Vang was shot "approximately 11 times," according to the report. Officers provided first aid at the scene. Vang died 10 days later at a hospital.

In his report, Assistant Attorney General Roy Korte concluded, "Mr. Vang committed a series of cold-blooded murders." The two officers, he said, "acted lawfully when they used deadly force."

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel also said the officers were justified. 

"For law enforcement officers who have to use deadly force, it's a terrible situation," Schimel said. "Nobody gets up during the morning and wants during that day to have to take a life. And that's a heavy burden to put on any person, including a law enforcement officer."

Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks said the loss of Weiland is still a heavy blow to the officers who knew him. 

"For some, obviously this is going to bring back memories and some very difficult circumstances that they went through and specifically further reflect on the loss of Detective Weiland who was a big part of our family here," Sparks said.

But Sparks said his officers have found encouragement in the support they’ve received from the greater Wausau community.

"The public support coming out of this incident has been unbelievable," he said.

WPR's Chuck Quirmbach contributed to this report

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