No charges issued against unnamed Racine County deputy who shot at gas station gunman

·3 min read
A Pilot Travel Center, 13712 Northwestern Ave., Franksville, is seen Thursday, July 15, 2021. The gas station is located just off Interstate 94 in rural Racine County. A Hartland man shot and killed 22-year-old Anthony "Nino" Griger of Elkhorn while Griger was pumping gas Tuesday morning. He also attempted three carjackings and shot at an undercover officer at a gas station two miles away, injuring him, before shooting himself in the head.
A Pilot Travel Center, 13712 Northwestern Ave., Franksville, is seen Thursday, July 15, 2021. The gas station is located just off Interstate 94 in rural Racine County. A Hartland man shot and killed 22-year-old Anthony "Nino" Griger of Elkhorn while Griger was pumping gas Tuesday morning. He also attempted three carjackings and shot at an undercover officer at a gas station two miles away, injuring him, before shooting himself in the head.

No charges will be issued against the unnamed, undercover sheriff's deputy who shot at a gunman after he opened fire outside two gas stations in rural Racine County in July.

The suspect in the shooting, John R. McCarthy, 32, of Hartland, shot and killed Anthony F. Griger, 22, of Elkhorn outside one gas station in Franksville before driving 2 miles to another station and opening fire on the undercover deputy with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy, who survived the shooting and still has not been identified publicly, returned fire. McCarthy eventually turned his gun on himself and died by suicide.

The decision by Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson was accompanied this week by the release of hundreds of pages of investigative files by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which led the investigation into the officer shooting.

Those documents do not identify the deputy and redact all direct references to him and his assignment.

A cover letter attributed to Assistant Attorney General Paul Ferguson explained that revealing the identify of undercover personnel could “endanger the life or physical safety of these individuals because their jobs entail a significant threat of retaliatory action against known agents.”

The Racine County Sheriff’s Department has also refused to identify the deputy.

Sheriff Christopher Schmaling has said previously the deputy is a 21-year veteran of the department on a “very special assignment.” He said the deputy suffered multiple gunshot wounds that fractured his pelvis.

“I can tell you he is an outstanding investigator. He’s done a great job in bringing some of the most ruthless criminals to justice in our community,” Schmaling said shortly after the incident.

Documents released this week show that a relative of McCarthy, who is also the family attorney, had no explanation for his actions on July 13. The family told investigators they weren’t aware of him knowing anyone in the area of the shootings and that he worked in Hartland, according to investigative documents. They expressed shock at what happened.

When one Caledonia police officer arrived at the scene and tended to McCarthy after he had been shot, he noticed the phrase “last battle” written in marker on his arm in all caps, the documents said.

Law enforcement later searched McCarthy’s home and found a 12-gauge shotgun, various ammunition, a bullet hole in a wall and numerous computer hard drives submerged in a bathtub filled with blue liquid, documents said.

The shootings began around 7:30 a.m. July 13 outside the Pilot Travel Center, at 13712 Northwestern Ave. Schmaling said the suspect “lied in wait” before approaching Griger while he was filling his car with gas and shot him execution-style.

McCarthy then tried to steal Griger’s vehicle, but could not operate it, so he attempted to carjack another patron, who drove off. McCarthy shot at them as they fled, according to the Department of Justice.

McCarthy then got in his own car and drove 2 miles to a Mobil gas station, at 10616 Northwestern Ave., where the deputy, who was on duty with plainclothes and an unmarked squad car, was getting gas.

In an interview with investigators, the deputy said he saw the car enter the parking lot at a high rate of speed before coming to an abrupt stop. A male exited the car and approached the deputy with a thousand-yard stare, the deputy said.

Eventually, he realized the suspect had a gun. When he was about 10 feet away, the suspect raised it in the deputy’s direction and the two fired at each other.

The deputy told investigators he thinks he was targeted by the gunman because the front door to his squad car was open and he looked like an “easy target.”

Investigators recovered 15 casings from the two crime scenes.

This article has been corrected to reflect that the suspect died by suicide.

Contact Elliot Hughes at elliot.hughes@jrn.com or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: No charges issued after Racine County gas station shootings

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