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State to investigate Friday's deadly shooting on the east side

Published On: May 17 2013 12:07:07 PM CDT
Updated On: May 19 2013 02:21:14 PM CDT
Standoff on Rockefeller Lane

Standoff on Rockefeller Lane


The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation has taken over the investigation of the shooting death in Madison of a man who allegedly charged police officers with a sword.

Three Madison police officers are on administrative leave, officials say.

Brent Brozek, 43, died after he was shot multiple times by more than one officer, according to Madison Police Department Spokesman Joel DeSpain. The shots were fired after Brozek charged at police twice with a large sword, DeSpain said.

Neighbor Justin Coenen’s balcony is about 150 yards from the scene at 947 Rockefeller Lane.  Coenen said he watched as law enforcement tried to negotiate with Brozek, who was barricaded inside his home.

“They just kept saying over and over again, secure your dog, put your weapon down, and come out with your hands up,” Coenen said.

Coenen said he watched as officers tried to take the house at around 9 p.m.

“[Brozek’s] dog was out there and I heard gunshots -- at least five and the dog was running aimlessly. I didn't see anything. I did not see a man fall. I didn't see the cops shooting at anybody, I just heard gunshots. I told my wife to get down on the floor,” Coenen said. 

Traffic was shut down in the 900 block of Rockefeller Lane earlier in the day after Dane County deputies tried to serve Brozek an eviction notice. He refused to leave and gave deputies a reason to think he was armed, authorities said.

Law enforcement spent the day negotiating with Brozek, hoping to persuade him to leave the premises peacefully. Witnesses near the Rockefeller Lane scene said police were first heard on a voice amplifier at about 11:20 a.m. ordering Brozek to exit the home and drop weapons.

Police also said he had a history of mental health issues.

“I think we have somebody who's got a lot of stress going on in their life today. He's had some issues in the past so this is a very stressful day for this individual,” DeSpain said Friday afternoon.

Authorities decreased their presence at the scene around 4 p.m. and said then that they did not believe Brozek inside was a threat. But neighbors said there was still tension.

"It's scary because I have children and I don't know what his actions are going to be," neighbor Patricia Hernandez said Friday afternoon.

Around 9 p.m., Brozek left his home brandishing a large sword. Police said they first fired non-lethal bean bag rounds, and then used deadly force when he charged at them a second time.

Officers at the scene performed compression-only CPR on Brozek; he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, DeSpain said.

“[My boyfriend] said around 9:15, he heard what was like fireworks, and told me I wouldn't be able to get home because there was like police all over and cars all over and tape everywhere,” said Trish Sawall. “He had no idea that it was gunshots and then he said that he heard people running through our backyard, and then the caution tape all over and then police officers walking, he said hip to hip."

Neighbors described Brozek as reserved and said they've had confrontations with him in the past. He was often seen carrying a survival knife, Coenen said.

"Very unfortunate set of circumstances, "DeSpain said."Our hope, obviously, was he would come out and we could just deal with it in a very peaceful way -- and it just didn't end the way that we'd hoped."

The three officers’ administrative leave is standard protocol as the department investigates the matter, Despain said.

View video from the scene Friday night

Watch a news conference on the incident with Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain

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