RIVER FALLS -- An intentional Dec. 28 shooting that left three bullet holes in a River Falls townhome occupied by a mother and her sleeping 9-year-old remains under investigation.
River Falls Housing Authority, owner of the damaged property, is reacting to the rare incident.
Police reports state three young males were involved, one of whom faces four charges in Pierce County Circuit Court, including a felony. It is believed the men were in the area to sell marijuana to unknown male who was the target of the gunfire.
“This is the first reckless shooting of this type that I know of,” River Falls Police Chief Gordon Young said in a Jan. 13 interview. “We’ve had others where they were cleaning a weapon and they've discharged. But on the intentional reckless discharging of a weapon, this is the first one in four years.”
While authorities continue to search for the person who was shot at, River Falls Housing Authority board members met Jan. 8 in a regular meeting to address the situation.
River Falls Housing Authority had the damaged window replaced Jan. 7, Director Anne McAlpine said, and is seeking restitution for other damage.
Members discussed the parking lot in which the crime occurred and McAlpine assured the board that police do not think the Griffey Street area is of consistent concern.
Young said in an interview he agreed with her statement, and added there has not been a high service call volume to fuel additional patrols in the area.
McAlpine raised concerns about communication between police and the housing authority, as she said she had only first heard of the damage from a neighbor mid-morning on Monday.
Young said police protocol requires officers to react immediately to the situation at-hand.
“We’d contact property owners within a day or two days but the investigation comes first,” he said. “Our time is making sure those were apprehended, if occupants were in danger owners would be notified right away. We got them (suspects) in custody right away but time is ticking for us to get paperwork for the district attorney and reports completed.”
McAlpine said Jan. 17 that the board wants to focus on how to reduce incidents if possible to be more proactive. Hiring a contractor to install more lighting in a nearby park and possibly a few security cameras may be in the works. Normally, the agency gets a weekly police service call log and follows up.
“This was outside the norm," she said. "But it’s most upsetting to everyone that this even happened."
According to a criminal complaint:
A mother in the upstairs area of the townhome on the 400 block of Griffey Street called police around 1:34 a.m after hearing several loud “pops.” She observed a noisy vehicle outside.
Although the .45 caliber bullets left holes in two walls and a window in the lower level, there were no injuries to the mother or her son.
River Falls police found the 1998 Chevy Camaro convertible parked in the 100 block of South Fourth Street. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office aided and advised that deputies had “history” with a vehicle matching the description.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls police and St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office also assisted.
Authorities arrested William Feisthauer, 20, River Falls, and two 17-year-old males, one from Montreal, Wis., and the other from Prescott. After speaking with the suspects, authorities found the handgun underneath a refrigerator inside Feisthauer’s residence.
Over 3 grams of marijuana and various paraphernalia were also found.
Prosecutors charged the Montreal teen with second degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, property damage and disorderly conduct. He told police he was selling marijuana for extra money to buy his girlfriend a wedding ring and that the handgun belonged to his mother.
A $250 cash bond was signed Dec. 31. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Pierce County Courthouse.
If convicted, the Montreal youth faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted of second degree recklessly endangering safety.