An off-duty sheriff's deputy went on a shooting rampage in Crandon, Wis. One possible motive: jealousy.
CRANDON, WIS. - Allen Flannery never thought such violence would strike his quiet hometown, where he's spent all 43 years of his life, but a phone call before dawn Sunday shattered that notion: Six young people shot.
"My wife and I panicked," said Flannery, who has six children, three of them in high school. His children were found safe, but six other teenagers and young adults were discovered dead after an off-duty sheriff's deputy went on a shooting rampage during a pizza party, police said Sunday. They were at a nearby duplex owned by a longtime friend of Flannery's.
The deputy was identified as Tyler Peterson, 20, who worked full time for the Forest County Sheriff's Office and part time as a Crandon police officer, said Police Chief John Dennee.
A Crandon church elder described the shooting as a "crime of passion" involving a young woman who was shot, and the mother of a slain 14-year-old girl said jealousy might have been a motive.
Peterson was killed 8 miles north of Crandon in Argonne, said Crandon Police Chief John Dennee. He would not elaborate.
Gary Bradley, mayor of this northern Wisconsin city of 1,961 residents, said a police sniper killed Peterson, but authorities would not confirm that.
"I was shocked," said Ashley Megeshick of nearby Mole Lake, who got to know Peterson from his work-related visits to the casino where she was employed. "He was laid back. He did not seem like the type of person who would go on a shooting rampage or murder somebody. He was just a reasonable kind of guy."
Peterson was not working at the time of the shooting, said Sheriff Keith Van Cleve.
Flannery said he checked on his children's whereabouts soon after receiving the call and later sent them to stay with their grandparents as police investigated the slayings in Crandon, which is about 200 miles east of Minneapolis-St. Paul in an area known for logging and outdoor activities.
All the victims were "run- of-the-mill, regular kids," Flannery said. "Real good kids."
The survivor was taken to a hospital in Marshfield, Dennee said.
A jealous boyfriend?
The shooting occurred during a pizza and movie party inside a white two-story duplex where the seven young people had gathered. Three of the victims were Crandon High School students, said schools Superintendent Richard Peters. The other three had graduated from the high school within the past three years.
Two of the victims each have a parent who works in the school district, one victim has a grandparent in the district and a handful of the victims' aunts and uncles work for the district, Peters said.
He did not know whether Peterson was a graduate of the 300-student high school.
"We never thought something like this could happen in Crandon, but yet it did," Peters said. "It's a tremendous tragedy for the community."
One of the dead was 14-year-old Lindsey Stahl, said her mother, Jenny Stahl, 39.