Chief: Standoff with suspect like ‘game of cat and mouse’
MADISON, Wis. — Trying to apprehend a man wanted in connection with an attempted homicide was like a “game of cat and mouse” at a Monona home overnight Wednesday, police Chief Walter Ostrenga said.
Ostrenga, Madison Chief Mike Koval and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that it’s believed fire inside the home got 42-year-old Edward Matthews to surrender after a 9-hour standoff in the 5600 block of Tecumseh Avenue .
Matthews is a person of interest in a shooting on Madison’s east side and was believed to be the only person inside the residence, according to a release from Monona police.
Monona police, Madison police, and Dane County deputies were at the house trying to peacefully take Matthews into custody. Police used beanbag rounds and tear gas canisters to try to coax Matthews out of the home.
When the tactical team broke a window, law enforcement realized the home was on fire, Ostrenga said. Crews worked for more than an hour after the fire was spotted, with firefighters working to suppress the fire and Matthews still inside the home, before Matthews opened the garage door and surrendered.
“It was like a game of cat and mouse. He would pop out one door, go to the back, the firefighters would move to the front, he’d come around to the front, then they’d move the firefighters to the back,” Ostrenga explained. “(Firefighters were) working constantly trying to keep this fire under control and in the meantime, he keeps coming out, going back in. And eventually, I think he opened the garage door, maybe because there was so much smoke.”
Officer restraint leads to taking suspect alive, officials say
Koval, Mahoney and Ostrenga all said it was officer restraint during the incident that led to apprehending Matthews alive early Thursday.
“When you have someone as mercurial, as volatile, as Matthews was in this instance, it looked at times like it was going to be suicide by cop. He claimed he wouldn’t be taken,” Koval said. “He is literally presenting all of those elements which would suggest a legal defensible deadly force application.”
The 78 minutes of struggle during the fire was crazy, Ostrenga said.
“He was taken into custody at around 2 o’clock, so you had an hour and 18 minutes of just crazy, crazy activity,” Ostrenga said. “And you can’t compliment the officers on the perimeter enough for having the restraint not to use deadly force, and to try to take this guy alive.”
Matthews and officers did exchange gunfire during the standoff, but no one was shot, officials said. A gun was found in the home near where Matthews was last seen before surrender, Koval said.
Police believe Matthews shot his 37-year-old girlfriend 10 times last Wednesday on Madison’s east side. According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday, Matthews shot her after she said she wanted to break up. She suffered serious wounds but survived.
Matthews is facing charges including attempted first-degree homicide, possession of a firearm by a felon, obstructing an officer and five counts of felony bail jumping in connection with the shooting.
After he was apprehended, he was taken to the hospital where he remained Thursday afternoon under guard by Madison police, officials said.
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