The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has released reports on the Labor Day shooting in Maple. The 68 pages of information indicate the shooting was unplanned. The shooter and victim both told detectives they had never met.
The shooting victim, Patrick R. Staton, was transported to Essentia Health. He was shot in the right shoulder, forearm, chest and the back of the head, according to reports.
Felony charges have been filed against Staton and his girlfriend, Leah Marie Sommerlot, in Douglas County Court. Staton, 29, faces three counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. Sommerlot, 38, faces one felony count of aiding a felon, three misdemeanor counts of bail jumping and one count of obstructing an officer.
Evidence collected at their residence along Pellman Loop in Maple was also linked to an Aug. 30 robbery in Brule.
No charges have been filed against the alleged shooter, a 24-year-old Proctor man.
"Based upon its review of the incident, this office does not believe criminal charges are warranted against the alleged shooter in connection with this incident," District Attorney Mark Fruehauf said in a Friday, Oct. 11, news release.
Wisconsin law allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense under certain circumstances, he said, and the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person wasn't acting in self-defense.
"Based upon a review of the facts of this case and consideration of Wisconsin law of self-defense, this office does not believe that a criminal charge could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt against the alleged shooter in this incident," Fruehauf said.
According to the reports, the Proctor man and two women drove from Superior to the home in Maple to pick up an ATV. One of the women, a friend of Sommerlot, owned the ATV. The other woman was Staton’s ex-girlfriend.
When they pulled up, Staton and Sommerlot came out and Staton started yelling and screaming at them. The three decided to drive the ATV off the property and load it onto the truck elsewhere, so the woman who owned it drove away on it.
Staton threatened to beat up the Proctor man and started around the truck toward him. The Proctor man told detectives that Staton had a pistol in his hand and he heard the Maple man chamber a bullet. In response, the Proctor man chambered a bullet into his own rifle, which was in the cab of the vehicle.
When Staton got about 8 feet away from him, the Proctor man told detectives, he fired multiple rounds at Staton until he dropped to the ground. The Proctor man grabbed Staton’s gun, pulled out the magazine and threw it, then racked out the live round and threw the gun away from Staton.
He got into the truck and drove off. After they found the woman on the ATV, they stopped and called 911. Sommerlot also called 911, and Staton could be heard in the background telling her to hang up and help him get his holster and gun off, according to reports.
The Proctor man told detectives the shooting wasn't a planned event and that the gun wasn't inside the truck cab prior to their arrival at the house. He said Staton’s behavior made him fear for his life.
At the Pellman Loop home, deputies found three guns, all reported stolen out of Duluth. They also found items that could link Staton to an Aug. 30 robbery at the Brule Cenex gas station, including clothing that matched what the suspect was wearing and money wrapped in bank bands in the bedroom of the home.
A helmet that matches the one the robbery suspect wore was found in the shooter's truck bed. The woman who owned the ATV said it had been at the Pellman Loop residence and she took it when she got the ATV.
Staton is facing one count of robbery with threat of force for the Brule incident. He was bound over in Douglas County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Staton remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail. His next court appearance was set for Nov. 18.
Sommerlot was released on $3,000 cash bail, according to court records. Her next appearance was set for Monday, Oct. 14.