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DA clears MPD officer who shot pitchfork-wielding man

Man had history of mental illness

MADISON, Wis. - There is no criminal liability for a Madison police officer who shot a Fitchburg man who was threatening an officer with a pitchfork, according to a release from the Dane County district attorney.

Michael William Schumacher, 41, was shot June 30 by officer Hector Rivera on Madison's near east side.

"In this incident, the officer was faced with a subject who had broken into a residence, armed himself with a pitchfork and was not responding to commands as he advanced upon the officer," said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. "Responding to that threat with deadly force is permitted under the law."

Police were called at 9:04 p.m. on June 30 to the 1300 block of Morrison Street on reports of a burglary. Police were told that a man was acting odd and was chest-deep in Lake Monona.

According to police, neighbors reported seeing Schumacher talking to himself and throwing a rock at a home, breaking a window. At that point, police received another phone call from the homeowner with the broken window, who reported that someone was breaking into the home.

The officer was waiting for backup when the suspect approached the officer with a four-pronged pitchfork, according to officers. The officer shot Schumacher after ordering him several times to stand back.

Other officers administered first aid. Schumacher was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, according to Madison police.

Ozanne said Schumacher had a history of mental illness.

"I believe we must endeavor to do more to work with and support individuals with mental health issues and their families in an effort to keep them stable and connected to services in the community," Ozanne said.

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