Suicidal shooter shuts down Luck

Multiple agencies involved; social media posts concern authorities

Greg Marsten | Staff writer

LUCK – A portion of Luck village was shut-down to everyone for safety for several hours on Friday, Sept. 29, as a precaution involving an apparently suicidal man in his 30s.

According to Luck Police Chief Monte Tretsven, the incident took place in the area of 2nd Street and Butternut Avenue, after a 911 call from a woman who said the man had threatened to take his own life with a rifle in the house. 

Tretsven said he had been in contact with the man earlier in the day and thought his issues were under control but he apparently went further and relayed his suicidal threats, enough so that law enforcement took his threat seriously.

The call from the woman came in at about 11 a.m., warning of the threats and a number of law enforcement officers resounded to the area, shutting down the perimeter, under concern for the public’s safety.

While authorities are not identifying the man, due to possible mental health and medical concerns, they have given some details on the background of the response.

“Everybody responded,” Chief Tretsven said. “We’ve done situations like this before, with several agencies.”

Tretsven said they called in the Polk County Sheriff’s Department to assist with the stand-off, which activated their elite Emergency Response Team, which can operate out of sight and has trained often for exactly that kind of incident.

“We thought it might be good to have people who are trained for that kind of thing, who train with greater frequency,” Tretsven said. 

Police were able to keep the man at bay and tied to communicate with him, eventually getting a response later in the afternoon.

Using a public address system, police were eventually able to convince the man to leave the weapon inside and come out unarmed at around 2 p.m.

“It was never a hostage situation,” Tretsven confirmed, “But we did find a rifle on the scene.”

In spite of the bloodless ending, Tretsven and several people in law enforcement were not happy about some of the social media postings on the event, suggesting a variety of mistruths, with some people even telling people where the ERT officers were hiding.

“Some people even took photos of the (ERT) guys and put them on (social media),” Tretsven said, “That’ pretty dangerous to do that!”

Tretsven and others in law enforcement pointed out how that was not only dangerous to the officers on the scene, but also for the whole area, noting that if the man had wanted, he could just look on his phone or computer and see what the people nearby had posted about where the police were staged and where the camouflaged officers were hiding.

‘There was a lot of wrong information posted,” Sheriff Peter Johnson confirmed. “It really doesn’t help.”

Tretsven said they kept an ambulance staged nearby and confirmed the man was taken into custody after he surrendered, but that no charges have been filed at this time and the man is now in the ward of mental health professionals.

Agencies involved in the situation included the Luck, Milltown and Frederic police departments, as well as the Wisconsin State Patrol and the PCSD.