A Town of Beloit man told police he fired his gun at a man he believed was breaking into a van on his property.
Police are still looking for the shooting victim, who police believe is suffering from a non-life-threatening injury.
Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp said Jacob Davenport, 31, called police about a half hour after the shooting at his home in the 1900 block of Shore Drive, which was initially reported by a neighbor at 5:04 a.m. Friday. He told police he fired up to four shots from a .40-caliber handgun at the suspected thief, striking him at least once. Police said they believe the man might have been struck in the left arm.
Davenport told police he fired once while the suspected thief was in his driveway, striking him. He said fired two to three additional shots at the car while it was in the road. He said a woman was driving the car.
Kopp said police believe the shooting victim is 27-year-old Eleazar Tate. He is described as a black man, standing 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. Tate also has a tattoo of the word "MOB" on his left arm, police said.
Tate could face charges of attempted theft, according to Kopp. Police have made attempts to contact Tate and are concerned he likely hasn't been treated for his injury.
"We're trying to work with acquaintances of his and so on to convince him that it's in his best interest to turn himself in, especially because he is wounded," Kopp said.
Authorities said the vehicle that Tate fled in was recovered Monday and turned over to police as evidence.
Davenport was initially arrested on suspicion of first-degree recklessly endangering safety but was released Monday. A jail official said the charge against Davenport was dropped.
The Rock County District Attorney's Office said Monday afternoon that Davenport will not face charges for now, but as with any case, that could change as the investigation continues.
Kopp said he recognizes that the charging decision is ultimately in the hands of the district attorney, but he explained that Monday's decision not to charge Davenport may not be the final call. Kopp said if Tate comes forward as a "cooperating witness," the situation might change.
Nevertheless, Kopp said a person has to be threatened by great bodily harm or death to use deadly force under Wisconsin law. Kopp said with a property crime, the recommended course of action is calling police as soon as possible.
"I can't imagine there being any circumstance where deadly force would be justified in a minor property crime, such as theft to a motor vehicle," Kopp said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Town of Beloit Police Department at 608-364-2984, extension 12.