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Police release more details from Dec. 14 gunshot incident

Police officers established a perimeter around a South Main Street home in December 2017 while investigating allegations of gunfire during a domestic incident. File photo

On Thursday, Dec. 14, around 8:30 p.m. multiple people reported hearing a loud noise like a firework in the 600 block of South Main Street. They later realized it was at least one gunshot, according to police reports recently released to the River Falls Journal after an open records request.

9-1-1 dispatchers received more than one call regarding the incident, which caused a stir on social media after UW-River Falls posted an alert about "possible shots fired." This post said the incident did not present a threat to the campus.

At about 10:30 p.m. that night, the River Falls Police Department followed up with a Facebook post denying rumors of an active shooter, saying "no evidence of shots fired has been discovered."

The next day police reported that a round had been accidentally fired during a "domestic argument," which had struck an unoccupied business nearby.

The police department released no further information and did not release the report when requested by the Journal, until last week. Police Chief Gordon Young said the report could not be released as the case was still open.

The initial call

Police were called at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 14 to a residence in the 600 block of South Main Street. Upon arriving, they blocked off the street and formed a perimeter around the house. UW-River Falls police, Pierce County sheriff's deputies and ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agents assisted at the scene.

One of those who called 9-1-1 was involved in the incident.

According to the police report:

When law enforcement arrived, two women were found inside a vehicle in the driveway of the South Main Street residence. They were told to exit the vehicle.

One had a gun, which she left in the vehicle. She didn't immediately get out of the vehicle with her hands in the air when told to do so. She had called 9-1-1 and was still on the phone with dispatch.

Dispatch told her to hang up and follow officers' commands.

She allegedly became upset, shouted obscenities and did not follow instructions, instead saying she was going to file a complaint because she was being treated like a criminal and she had a gun pointed at her. She eventually raised her hands above her head and started walking toward police. However, she did not kneel on the ground with her hands above her head as ordered.

Instead one officer provided cover for another, who approached the woman, escorted her behind a tree and handcuffed her.

She and the other occupant of the vehicle were "detained for officer safety" according to the report.

When Pierce County Sheriff's deputies arrived, and a perimeter had been fully set up, deputies made PA announcements telling everyone in the residence to exit.

Four PA announcements were made before those inside began to exit, according to a PCSO report.

Once all were outside, they were cuffed and detained in an ambulance to keep warm, as the temperature was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man, later identified as Tony A. Case, 22, River Falls, had allegedly left the area. He and another man, Timothy Adam Chambers, 29, Prescott, were suspected of being involved in the incident.

Officers found footprints and a K-9 unit was called to search for Case.

A K-9 search of the residence did not reveal any people, though a cat was found, which reportedly interested the dog. Due to the distraction, human officers also searched the residence. Drug paraphernalia was found in one of the units in the residence.

A .357 caliber pistol was found in the vehicle the two women had been in, along with a live .38 round in the front of the vehicle. Open containers of alcohol were also found.

An anonymous informant later called the police department and reported that Case was at a residence in the 500 block of North Winter Street. The caller reported that Case had been wounded by gunfire. The caller also said Case had been in an argument with his mother during which he was shot, and then ran away.

A River Falls officer in an unmarked investigator car went to the residence on Winter Street and began watching it, while police and deputies began planning to find Case and take him into custody.

The officer in the unmarked car saw two men, one later identified as Case, enter a vehicle and drive off. The vehicle was stopped near Holiday gas station, 302 S. Main St., and Case was held at gunpoint and arrested.

Case alleged his mother had shot him.

The wound was a graze to his left forearm and was evaluated by River Falls EMS and River Falls Area Hospital staff.

Once medically cleared, Case was taken to the River Falls Police Department.

At the time of the incident, Case had multiple felony warrants out for his arrest from Minnesota.

The incident

Case and his mother both said the altercation began over a vehicle that Case and his girlfriend were going to purchase from Case's mother. Case's mother said she was allowing Case's girlfriend to drive the car to and from work, but the girlfriend had neither paid nor returned the car since the agreement was made, so she had come for the vehicle.

Case allegedly told police that prior to arriving at the South Main Street residence, his mother had said she would come shoot him in the head. Case reportedly responded with "Go ahead, come on and do it."

Once his mother arrived, there was an "altercation" in the driveway.

Case's mother allegedly had a silver .357 handgun in the center console area. Case said his mother pointed the gun at his chest, and he swiped the gun away. At that point, he said, the gun fired, grazing his left finger and arm.

He said at this point he ran away, contacted a friend and went to the friend's residence.

Case's mother said she had told Case to bring her the keys when she arrived at the South Main Street residence.

Case's mother said Case and another person, whom she later identified for police as Chambers, came out of the residence and stopped in front of the driver's side headlight. She said Chambers produced a firearm and shot in her direction.

Case's mother said that at this point, she pulled out her gun and shot toward Chambers. She said she did not intend to kill her son or Chambers.

The woman who was in the vehicle with Case's mother said she saw Case and his mother arguing and physically fighting. She said she also saw another person arrive. She said she only heard one shot, and that was from Case's mother's gun.

The two women were released.

A witness described hearing that Case's mother had shot at him, and someone with Case had pulled a gun on Case's mom. Then Case had told the other person not to do that, because she was his mother.

In a police interview, Chambers said he had only stopped by the South Main Street address to "hang out" and did not live there. Chambers denied coming out of the house with Case, carrying a gun. He told police he had just met Case.

The gun that others said Chambers had was allegedly a .38 caliber handgun, believed to belong to a resident of the South Main Street address.

On Jan. 12, River Falls Police ran a criminal history on Chambers, and found he is a convicted felon and was disqualified from possessing firearms.

On Jan. 10, police reviewed recorded phone calls, video jail visits and booking room footage from the time Case was in Pierce County Jail on an extradition charge in December. His mother visited him in jail, and allegedly admitted she had her gun out and said she never would have shot Case. She said that Case had put her gun to his head asking her to shoot him. She told Case she was not going to shoot him, but was going to shoot his friend.

Another recording was of a conversation Case had with his mother, in which police could only hear what Case said.

He allegedly said "They didn't shoot at you."

"He was going to because you shot me."

And "he had my back when you tried to kill me."

He also allegedly said "I whipped the keys at your windshield."

According to the report, Case said the key throwing had occurred after he had been shot.

The charges

Charges for possessing a firearm while prohibited as a felon and disorderly conduct were referred to the Pierce county District Attorney's office for Chambers.

Charges for disorderly conduct and obstructing were referred to the DA for Case. He was taken to Pierce County Jail.

On the way to jail, Case allegedly told an officer that he had run behind apartments that were behind the Main Street residence, then over to a pedestrian bridge on the UWRF campus. He said he went into the creek by the bridge, off of the rail, to prevent K-9 units from tracking him.

At this time Wisconsin court records show no indication that charges have yet been filed against any of the parties involved.

The Pierce County DA's office could not be reached by press time.

Other arrests

The driver of the vehicle Case was in when he was arrested was identified as Joseph Kobs, 25, River Falls. When Case was arrested, Kobs was also handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a squad car.

Police could see a drug pipe in plain view. Police searched the vehicle, also looking for a .38 handgun that was possibly involved in the incident in the 600 Block of South Main Street. Only the drug pipe and a partially-smoked marijuana cigarette in the ashtray were found.

Kobs was cited $187 for possession of drug paraphernalia and $250 for operating while revoked, as his license was revoked at that time, due to an OWI.

Case's girlfriend Stephanie Marie Peabody, 22, River Falls, was one of those inside the South Main Street residence. There was a warrant out for her arrest from St. Croix County with a bond amount of $195. She was also on probation, though probation did not choose to place a hold on her.

She was taken to St. Croix County Jail after giving her statement to police.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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