More than three weeks after a fatal shooting in Pardeeville involving a member of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, basic details of the incident continue to be withheld by the Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Justice.
On the evening of Aug. 21, law enforcement responded to a domestic incident at 416 Vince St., which ended with the death of 64-year-old Thomas Selje.
In line with Wisconsin law, investigation of the officer-involved death was immediately turned over to an outside agency, the state DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation. All questions about the incident have been referred to the DOJ.
On Aug. 23, the DOJ released a statement identifying Selje as the man killed in the incident, and identifying the location of the original call, saying that the deputy responding “encountered gunfire originating from the residence before arriving,” though official accounts of the nature of that gunfire is unclear. Neither have the officials confirmed if Selje was in possession of a firearm at the end of the incident.
The incident was briefly mentioned Monday in a meeting of the Columbia County Board’s Public Safety Committee. During the sheriff’s report, Chief Deputy Darrel Kuhl, filling in for Sheriff Dennis Richards, said the incident was under investigation by the DCI with a report expected by the middle of the month.
The deputy, who has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a determination after the incident report is sent to the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, has not been named.
“The timeline varies, but for something like this where there aren’t too many complicating factors, we will aim for 30 days to have this to the district attorney for review,” DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said on Aug. 22. A preliminary statement describing the incident was expected within the following week, but has so far not been released.
Daniel Drew and Teresa Sumnicht, Columbia County supervisors and Public Safety Committee members, confirmed that committee members have not been otherwise briefed regarding the situation or the impact of the department being down an officer over the course of the investigation.