CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WCCO) – Wisconsin investigators are trying to find a motive behind two shootings that left five people dead, including the gunman, and two others hurt.
The first shooting happened Sunday in Lake Hallie around 10:30 p.m. Several hours later, deputies found a second scene at home in Lafayette. Authorities say two women, two men and one young boy died.
Neighbors in both towns are still struggling to come to grips with the tragic story.
“It’s just an uneasy feeling knowing now what I didn’t know this morning when I made a report,” said Carol, a neighbor in Lake Hallie.
Carol’s concern lies with what happened next door, a Lake Hallie home where investigators say four people were shot. Two of them died. She heard the gunfire late Sunday night.
“It woke me up from a deep sleep,” Carol said.
Police found the victims inside and say the shooter is one of the people who died.
“I’m just praying that the two that are over there that are being hospitalized and in surgery, I hope that they make it,” Carol said.
After a few hours, investigators went to the home in Lafayette to notify the shooter’s family of what happened, but repeated knocks on the door went unanswered.
“We finally forced our way in and we found three other victims of a homicide,” Sheriff James Kowalczyk said.
One victim was a child, who neighbors described as an 8-year-old boy who played with other kids in the neighborhood. They fear his grandmother is one of the others who was killed, telling us off camera she was a friendly woman. The families at both homes were described as ideal neighbors.
“They’re a family that always kept to themselves, always quiet, never out to cause problems,” Carol said.
Investigators have yet to release a motive or the exact connection between the two crime scenes. While Carol is at least glad there isn’t a gunman on the loose, her prayers remain focused on the lives lost and those still recovering.
“I just, it’s very hard to accept that,” Carol said.
We were able to talk with relatives of the victims from the home in Lake Hallie, but they declined to comment.
The Chippewa County sheriff says he plans to release more details on the investigation Tuesday around noon.