Chief says shooter in Milton incident acted in self defense, released from custody

Officials said the man who shot a 30-year-old in Milton Wednesday night acted in self-defense.

In a news conference Thursday, Milton police Chief Scott Marquardt said 21-year-old Jason P. Kraayvanger shot his friend Zachary Barrett at Barrett’s home during a domestic incident.

Marquardt said Barrett was arguing with his wife at about 8 p.m. at their home in the 200 block of Elm Street. Kraayvanger, who had been staying there with the Barrett family, intervened when Barrett and his wife were fighting, officials said. The woman called 911, and Barrett put on a bullet-resistant vest. He armed himself with an AR-15 rifle and told Kraayvanger that he was getting ready for the cops to arrive. He also had a 9 mm in a holster on the vest.

Police said there were also five children between the ages 1 and 14 at the home during the incident.

Chief says shooter in Milton incident acted in self defense, released from custody

Police said Kraayvanger continued talking with Barrett as the two of them left the downstairs apartment and went out into the driveway next to the home. Barrett pointed the rifle at Kraayvanger and told him to leave, police said. Barrett reportedly raised the rifle toward Kraayvanger multiple times and Kraayvanger knocked it way, and the confrontation grew more intense, Kraayvanger told police.

Kraayvanger told officers that Barrett pointed the rifle at his face, and that he believed he was going to be shot, so he grabbed the 9 mm pistol from Barrett’s chest holster and shot Barrett once in the head. Barrett immediately fell to the ground, the release said.

Police arrived a short time later.

Police said officers found the AR-15 rifle and the pistol in the driveway, plus two smaller pistols in the cargo pockets of Barrett’s pants. He was wearing a belt with rifle ammunition plus loaded magazines for the three pistols.

“The physical evidence located at the scene is consistent with Kraayvanger’s version of the shooting that he acted in self-defense,” police said in a release.

Marquardt said that when police arrived, Kraayvanger was trying to render first aid to Barrett and told officers, “He gave me no choice. I had to do it.”

Barrett was taken to Mercy Hospital in Janesville and flown by medical helicopter to UW Hospital in Madison where he’s in critical condition, police said.

Kraayvanger was taken into custody and released Thursday.

“By law, the state is required to prove that a person did not act with self-defense,” Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary said Thursday during the new conference. “Based on all the information that we have right now, the state cannot prove that he acted other than in self-defense.”

Police said no one witnessed the shooting aside from Kraayvanger and Barrett, and that Barrett’s not capable of providing a statement now and it’s not known if or when he could.

Barrett’s wife told News 3 she’s disputing Kraayvanger’s self-defense claim.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 608-757-2244 or Crime Stoppers at 608-756-3636. Tips can also be submitted through the free “P3 tips” app.

Marquardt said Barrett is not permitted to own a firearm because he is a convicted felon for a drug charge.