Wisconsin Deputy Named In Shooting Rampage

Seven young people are dead and one critically wounded following America’s latest shooting rampage, which has left a small Wisconsin town numb with grief.

The gunman has been identified as 20 year-old Tyler Peterson, an off-duty Forest County sheriff’s deputy and part-time City of Crandon police officer.

The town of Crandon is located 180 miles north of Milwaukee and is home to 2,000 residents.

At about 3 a.m. on Sunday, Peterson allegedly stormed into the home of his former girlfriend, Jordanne Murray, and shot her dead along with five other friends who had gathered for pizza and movies. One critically wounded teenager remains in hospital.

Mr Peterson himself was later killed by a sniper from the Crandon SWAT unit on Sunday afternoon.

The group of friends, all aged between 14-20 years of age, had assembled at Ms Murray’s home on Saturday evening to celebrate the local high school’s football victory.

The following victims were identified by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Jordanne Murray, 18 – Ms Murray had until recently been in a long-term relationship with Mr Peterson, and last year had graduated from Crandon High School. She worked two jobs, at the local hamburger and ice cream parlor and at the local Subway sandwich shop.

Katrina McCorkle, 18 – Ms McCorkle was a senior at Crandon High and a keen softball player. She had planned to attend college and had been making enquiries at a number of universities.

Leanna Thomas, 18 – Ms Thomas was also in her senior year at Crandon High School. Her grandfather managed to say only that “She was such a sweet little girl” before tearfully terminating an interview with the newspaper.

Bradley Schultz, 20 – Mr Schultz was a student majoring in criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; he worked part-time at an electrical supply company to pay for his studies. He graduated from Crandon High School in 2005 and had been friends with Mr Peterson since childhood.

Aaron Smith, (age not known) – Mr Smith, called “Chunk” by his friends, graduated from Crandon High School in 2005. His recreational interests included football and fishing. He was also a childhood friend of Mr Peterson.

Lindsey Stahl, 14 – Ms Stahl was a freshman at Crandon High School and worked part-time with Ms Murray at the local hamburger and ice cream parlor. She was passionate about global warming and animal rights.

Charlie Nietzel, 19 – Mr Nietzel was a resident of the neighboring town of Pickeral, but was a close friend of all the victims and the gunman. He survived the shooting and remains in critical condition at St Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.

Mr Peterson’s motive is not yet clear, although there is some speculation that Ms Murray had recently ended their relationship and begun a new relationship, which Mr Peterson had not accepted.

One local teenager who knew the entire group of close-knit friends also said that Mr Peterson had a history of being bullied by other students in high school.

Friends and family of the victims were still reeling from the shock of the tragedy.

Kelly Flanery, 15, described Ms Murray as “… like, the nicest person. She was friends with everyone. I didn’t believe it at first. It didn’t like sink in, it really hasn’t.”

Ms Stahl’s half-brother, Ryan Coulter, praised her intelligence, compassion and interest in important issues. “She probably would have changed the world, you know,” he said.

Steve Bocek, the uncle of Mr Schultz, was as baffled and as he was grief-stricken when he heard his nephew had been killed. “He was such a good kid; who would ever expect this?” he asked. “He was just always a nice kid, always polite. He just wanted to come down here to go to school so he could further his education.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that streets remain barricaded near the shooting scene, and that “the soul of Crandon seemed to shake with grief”.

“This is affecting everybody in this small community,” said Tom Vollmar, a Forest County supervisor who has lived in Crandon for 57 years. “There’s no family that hasn’t been touched in one way or another.”

Crisis counselors are helping local residents deal with the tragedy at Crandon High School, where school has been cancelled for the day, and at Praise Chapel Community Church.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Bill Farr, received a call from the sheriff’s office at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday asking that he open the church early to give grieving relatives and friends of the victims a place to gather and support each other.

“This is going to take a long time for a community like this to get over,” he said through tears as he stood next to his pickup truck in the church parking lot Sunday night, holding hands and praying with other church members.

“We just really need everyone’s prayers right now,” he said.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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