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Tyler James PETERSON

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Off-duty sheriff’s deputy
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: October 7, 2007
Date of birth: 1987
Victims profile: Jordanne Michele Murray, 18 (his former girlfriend) / Katrina Lee McCorkle, 18 / Lianna Faye Thomas, 17 / Bradley Steven Schultz, 20 / Aaron Edward Smith, 20 / Lindsey Lou Stahl, 14
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Crandom, Wisconsin, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
 
 

 
 
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Crandon shootings crime scene photos

 
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State of Winconsin - Department of Justice

 
statements regarding cramdom shootings and investigation
 
 

 
 

The Crandon, Wisconsin shooting was a mass murder that occurred about 2:45 a.m. CDT on October 7, 2007, at a post-homecoming party inside a duplex in Crandon, Wisconsin, United States.

The perpetrator, 20-year-old Tyler Peterson, who was a full-time deputy in the Forest County Sheriff's Department and a part-time officer at the Crandon Police Department, shot and killed six people and critically injured a seventh before committing suicide.

One of the victims, 18-year-old Jordanne Michele Murray, was Peterson's former girlfriend, and it was believed the dispute within the apartment motivated the shooting.

Overview

Tyler James Peterson, a 20-year-old full-time deputy in the Forest County Sheriff's Department and a part-time police officer at the Crandon Police Department, who was not on duty, entered an apartment complex where a homecoming party was held at approximately 2:45 a.m. CDT, and shot at seven people, ages 14 to 20, killing six of them and wounding the seventh.

The gunman was later killed, initially believed to have been killed by a police sniper, but it was later discovered that he committed suicide by multiple gunshots, with the third shot being the fatal one. Police have ruled out that approximately 30 rounds were fired throughout the duration of the shooting.

Victims

All seven victims were either students or recent graduates of Crandon High School. The seventh victim, Charles Neitzel, played dead after being shot three times and survived, despite being critically injured.

  • Jordanne Michele Murray, 18

  • Katrina Lee McCorkle, 18

  • Lianna Faye Thomas, 17

  • Bradley Steven Schultz, 20

  • Aaron Edward Smith, 20

  • Lindsey Lou Stahl, 14

Wikipedia.org


Dispute Is Cited in Wisconsin Shooting

John Olusha - The New York Times

October 8, 2007

Some kind of dispute was behind the massacre early Sunday morning of six young people by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, officials in Crandon, Wisconsin said today.

The deputy, Tyler Peterson, acted alone in the shootings of the six, who were students at Crandon High School or recent graduates, according to J.B. Van Hollen, the state attorney general, who spoke at an early afternoon news conference in the school’s auditorium today.

Mr. Van Hollen said Mr. Peterson, 20, died later on Sunday, but would not say whether he was shot by police who had located him in a nearby town or took his own life.

He said the victims were attending a party and that Mr. Peterson was also present. “There was an argument,” said Mr. Van Hollen.

He said Mr. Peterson left the gathering, but returned with an automatic rifle, similar to one used by the sheriff’s department. About 30 rounds were fired, killing the six and wounding one. He said Mr. Peterson fired at a Crandon police car that apparently was responding to reports of shots being fired. The officer in the car was wounded by breaking glass, but was not seriously injured. Mr. Peterson then left the scene, he said.

Officials said the shooter apparently had a previous relationship with one of the young women at the gathering, but would not provide details.

Mr. Peterson also worked part-time on the Crandon police force. Its chief, John Dennee, said today that Mr. Peterson had met the state requirements to be a police officer and said “we had no indication” that he would extract murderous revenge. No psychological screening was performed in his hiring, Chief Dennee said.

After the shooting, Mr. Peterson had some telephone conversations with Leon Stenz, the Forest County district attorney, about surrendering to police, but could not reach an agreement. Mr. Stenz said Mr. Peterson seemed calm on the phone, and “he understood the situation he was in.”

A local pastor, Bill Farr, read a statement from Mr. Peterson’s family at the news conference, saying that the family was shocked at the incident, which they said “was not the Tyler we knew and loved.” The family said it felt “a tremendous amount of guilt and shame for the acts Tyler committed” as well as sorrow and grief for the victims and their families.


Documents fill in lost hours after gunman killed six in Crandon

Police faced 'uphill odds' in 7,000-mile manhunt for Tyler Peterson

By Kate McGinty - PostCrescent.com

CRANDON — What started with the shootings of seven people at a house party Oct. 7 ended nearly 10 hours later with police handcuffing a dead man outside a cabin eight miles away.

In between, a massive manhunt involving dozens of law enforcement officers, aircraft and dogs played out as police scoured more than 7,000 miles of northern Wisconsin roads in search of one man.

The drama of those lost hours emerges for the first time in State Patrol reports and those of several sheriff's departments requested by The Post-Crescent, as well as more than 1,200 pages of investigation reports released this past week by Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen.

The state Department of Justice documents were made public four months to the day after Tyler Peterson, a 20-year-old off-duty Forest County sheriff's deputy, shot to death six people, including his ex-girlfriend, Jordanne Murray, 18, and critically wounded a seventh, Charlie Neitzel, 21.

Also killed were: Aaron Smith, 20, Bradley Schultz, 20, Lindsey Stahl, 14, Lianna Thomas, 18, and Katrina McCorkle, 18.

They tell the story of the officers who searched for Peterson after he fled from the scene of the crime, spurring a tense manhunt that started as most of the state slept and was captured on teletypes, cell phones and mobile computers.

"Throughout the early morning, law enforcement agencies from throughout the state were contacted, were en route and were fanning out to protect communities and locate Peterson," said Mike Myszewski, acting administrator for the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.

"Law enforcement faced uphill odds in locating Peterson."

Search and locate

Phones began ringing across the state hours before sunrise.

Cars flooded the roads as early as 3:39 a.m. to head toward Crandon from across the state. Two pilots were called in to begin aerial searches.

Eighteen agencies in all responded to a plea for help from Forest County, including state agents from Madison, Michigan state police and sheriff's deputies from Washington County, 213 miles away.

"Didn't get any specifics as to how many vehicles, but he said lots," one trooper wrote that morning.

Later, police would say Peterson drove "aimlessly" around Forest, Langlade and Lincoln counties.

The dozens of police cars almost mimicked his behavior.

Sgt. Travis Wanless, who wrote a detailed summary of the State Patrol's involvement following the initial investigation, said officers narrow their searches to specific areas, then start driving.

"We just have our units kind of respond to that general area and hope we kind of stumble across him," Wanless said.

As the officers drove cautiously, searching for any sign of a murder suspect or his vehicle, they wrestled with an unfamiliar and overwhelming feeling, Wanless said.

"I don't even know how really to describe it. … An (initial) adrenaline rush would be a way to describe it, especially because of that incident in particular. That's a pretty serious offense," he said.

Wanless, who only once referred to Peterson by name, and even then called him "Mr. Peterson," said the prospect of actually finding their mass murderer was unsettling. The anxiety was heightened by the knowledge that Peterson, an avid hunter, was carrying several weapons.

"There's always the thought in the back of your mind, 'What am I going to do when I locate him? Or if I do locate him?'" he said. "You're kind of going over the 'what if' scenarios in your mind. 'What if he starts shooting at me?'… You name it, it could probably happen.

"Our training does somewhat prepare us … but to actually be put in a situation, it is totally different."

Renegade deputy

As the manhunt grew, State Patrol dispatchers took the lead organizing the search. They began listing the times and places officers were to begin duty and relaying information about Peterson and his vehicle.

Their suspect's law enforcement background, though, was troubling: Deputy Peterson, as the dispatchers frequently called him, might overhear.

"This is not for radio broadcast as Deputy Peterson has his portable," dispatchers said repeatedly.

Without the option of police radios, State Patrol officers turned to mobile computers and personal cell phones.

Peterson's intimate knowledge of police techniques definitely hampered the search, Myszewski said.

"He knew the area very well and had access to law enforcement communications through the radio he kept in his truck. If police talked over the radio, he would hear," Myszewski said.

Making the search even more difficult, Peterson kept in touch by cell phone with friends and family, and sometimes his pursuers. He usually refused to tell his family and friends where he was for fear they would turn him in — and he lied to police about his whereabouts to throw them off his trail.

"Peterson was actively giving misinformation to those he spoke with, proactively trying to throw law enforcement off of his trail," Myszewski said.

One of his boldest ploys was a call to the Vilas County Sheriff's Department in which he identified himself as a member of the Forest County Sheriff's Department to provide false information to searchers.

Peterson, who responded "yep" to most questions, asked the dispatcher about the "renegade deputy" responsible for the shootings in Crandon.

"What did you have for a vehicle description?" Peterson asked. "Yeah, it's going to be a 2004, red F-150 now. … We don't (have a plate number) as of yet."

When the dispatcher asked if he knew what time the shootings had occurred, Peterson pretended to look at a case file.

"I think about midnight. I'd have to look up the complaint. … Hold on," Peterson said.

The dispatcher asked if the shooter had tried to kill people, curiosity evident in her voice as she learned for the first time that it was a deputy who was being sought by authorities.

"Six of 'em," Peterson answered.

"Six of 'em?"

"Yep."

"And they're dead?"

"Yep."

Desperation grows

More than four hours after the shootings, the dozens of searchers on the road were no closer to finding him.

Dispatcher Debra Seefeldt began reciting what became a repeated warning that searchers use "extreme caution."

She would later add details — Peterson probably had his service weapon, he was an avid hunter — but Seefeldt repeated the cautionary bulletin seven times in 11 minutes.

Though they remained calm and organized, dispatchers also seemed to be getting desperate. Some began questioning if Peterson had long fled the state, even the country.

At 6:58 a.m., a State Patrol dispatcher alerted border patrol in International Falls, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D. "Advise (them) suspect possibly trying to get into Canada," the dispatcher said.

Peterson, though, had doubled back and showed up at a cabin in Argonne, only eight miles from the shooting, at about 7:50 a.m.

Police had no clue, and kept searching. As late as 8:21 a.m., dispatchers said: "At this time, still no location of his whereabouts."

About the same time, dispatchers told searching officers that Peterson's cell phone calls had been traced to Long Lake, then later Iron River, Mich. That meant, dispatchers said, he was within five miles of the tower in Iron River.

Though the reason for the misleading call traces remains unclear, dispatchers would soon realize Peterson was much closer than they realized.

An end in sight

At 10:02 a.m. — 7 hours and 16 minutes after Peterson killed his ex-girlfriend and five of her friends — the officers searching for Peterson were finally alerted their manhunt was over.

Their suspect had been found: "Update on Deputy Peterson. We believe Peterson may be located in our county at a cabin, and we are staging at this time for attempting to apprehend him. We have the rifle, and he is believed to still have the pistol."

A co-owner of the property had called the police, saying Peterson had shown up at her cabin.

Confrontation loomed. Armored vehicles surrounded the cabin, nearby roads were blocked off and Forest County requested a K-9 unit.

At about 12:30 p.m., Peterson walked hurriedly into the woods near the cabin. A sniper fired just before he vanished from sight, not knowing whether the shot found its mark. Three more shots, quieter than the first, rang out from the direction Peterson had gone. A tactical team rushed toward the woods, yelling for Peterson to surrender.

They found him lying on his back in the tall grass.

One agent stepped on Peterson's right arm to hold it down as he plucked the gun from his hand. They rolled him over and handcuffed him.

Only then did they realize they had handcuffed a dead man.

On the scanners, the long, narrative descriptions of Peterson ceased. Dispatchers returned to short, staccato updates loaded with impersonal police language.

"One, two, three, four shots fired. Subject in woods northbound."

"Suspect 10-95 at this time."

"Advised situation in Forest County is over. Subject committed suicide."

"Cancel APB on Deputy Peterson."


Timeline of events on Sunday, Oct. 7

  • 12 a.m.: Tyler Peterson drops off two friends.
     

  • 2:30 a.m.: Peterson arrives at a duplex, 201 N. Hazeldell Ave., Apt. B, Crandon. An argument ensues with ex- girlfriend Jordanne Murray, who Peterson accused of having a relationship with another man. Murray demands Peterson leave.
     

  • 2:43 a.m.: Peterson leaves duplex and retrieves a police AR-15 rifle.
     

  • 2:47 a.m.: Crandon police officer Greg Carter reports to dispatch that he heard gunshots.
     

  • 2:48 a.m.: Peterson emerges from duplex and shoots at Carter, hitting the squad car's windshield.
     

  • 2:51 a.m.: Someone inside the duplex reports gunshots.
     

  • 2:53 a.m.: Medics from Laona and Wabeno paged to scene.
     

  • 2:55 a.m.: Dispatcher tells police that shooter is at 201 N. Hazeldell Ave., a neighboring residence.
     

  • 3 a.m.: Peterson starts to drive to see his brother, then begins to drive "aimlessly'' around Lincoln, Forest and Langlade counties in northern Wisconsin. Peterson later tries to throw police off his trail by calling in false reports of his location.
     

  • 3:01 a.m.: Ambulances arrive at duplex.
     

  • 3:09 a.m.: A Forest County deputy leaves a message on Peterson's cell phone requesting a return call.
     

  • 3:10 a.m.: Chief Deputy Ken Van Cleve of the Forest County Sheriff's Department leaves a message on Peterson's cell phone requesting Peterson meet or call him.
     

  • 4:20 a.m.: Local police agencies request help from the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.
     

  • 4:30 a.m.: DCI staff members head toward the scene.
     

  • 5:13 a.m.: Tyler Peterson tells authorities there is no "taking back what he did."
     

  • 5:58 a.m.: Authorities request State Patrol troopers for help with crowd control and scene containment.
     

  • 7:50 a.m.: Peterson goes to a cabin in Argonne where his friends are.
     

  • 7:55 a.m.: Peterson, who seems intoxicated, tells people at the cabin what he did. Peterson says he will turn himself in to Crandon Police Chief John Dennee. Sometime later, one of the people at the cabin puts Peterson's AR-15 on the porch swing after Peterson gives it up.
     

  • 8:30 a.m.: Peterson leaves cabin to meet with family members.
     

  • 9:15 a.m.: Peterson returns to cabin. One of the cabin's occupants leaves, calls 911 and returns.
     

  • 9:30 a.m.: People in cabin notice Peterson still has a pistol on his hip.
     

  • 9:40 a.m.: Steve Peterson, Tyler Peterson's father, calls his son but the call goes to voicemail.
     

  • 9:56 a.m.: Tyler Peterson makes first of two calls to Forest County sheriff.
     

  • 12:31 p.m.: Peterson is shot in the left bicep, presumably by police, and is found a short time later with three apparently self-inflicted pistol wounds to the head.
     

  • About 4 p.m.: Police confirm the names of the six shooting victims who died and Peterson's death to the residents gathered at Praise Chapel Community Church in Crandon.

Sources: State Department of Justice, The Post-Crescent

 

 

 
 
 
 
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