By CARRIE ANTLFINGER
FRANKSVILLE, Wis. (AP) — A man filling up his car at a Wisconsin gas station was shot and killed by another man on Tuesday, with the suspect fleeing the scene and dying soon after in a shootout with an undercover sheriff’s investigator.
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said the initial shooting happened about 7:30 a.m. at the Pilot Travel Center in the village of Caledonia. Schmaling said a 32-year-old man approached and “viciously executed” a 22-year-old man putting gas in his car.
Schmaling said the gunman then shot at another person driving through the Pilot parking lot — that person was unhurt — and then drove away. The sheriff said the man then approached a person who was filling up his car at a Mobil station about 2 miles away.
That man happened to be an undercover sheriff’s investigator with 21 years of experience, Schmaling said. He said the two men exchanged gunfire, and the suspect was struck several times and killed.
The investigator was also hit and was taken to a Racine hospital, where he was conscious and alert, the sheriff said.
“It should be noted, ladies and gentlemen, this is 7:30 in the morning at this Mobil station. It was bustling with activity. People getting their gas. People getting their morning cup of coffee. There is no doubt in my mind the quick, heroic actions of our investigator saved lives today,” he said.
Schmaling said he had watched video of the initial shooting. Though he described the shooting as an execution, he gave no indication of what preceded the attack.
Schmaling did not provide the names of the shooter or his victims, but did say the gunman was from Hartland and the man he shot and killed was from Elkhorn.
One witness to the aftermath of the shooting at the Pilot, just off Interstate 94 about 22 miles south of Milwaukee, described “a sea of people” fleeing from inside the station.
A trucker who declined to give her name, citing fears for her safety, told The Associated Press she had just pulled into the Pilot to fuel up when a man ran out of the store. She said she then saw a truck ahead of her back up and make a U-turn to leave.
“Then, everybody starts running out of the Pilot, it’s truckers just running, sea of people, this one guy is yelling, ‘Run! Run,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my God,'” the woman said. She said she asked one of the people what was going on.
“He said that somebody’s in there shooting,” the woman said. She said she did not witness any shooting or see anyone hurt.
In a statement, Pilot Co. spokeswoman Stephanie Myers said it’s “an open investigation, we are cooperating fully with local authorities.” The statement went on to say that the “safety and well-being” of the company’s’ employees and customers “is always our main concern.”