Man fires shots near apartments, taken into custody 17 hours later

McFarland officers monitoring public safety near building arrest man Sunday
Man fires shots near apartments, taken into custody 17 hours later
Neil Bannier

A public safety incident with a possibly suicidal man who was reportedly firing a gun near an apartment building ended peacefully after almost 17 hours, McFarland police said.

Just before 5 p.m. Saturday, McFarland police were sent to the 5200 block of Spartan Drive for a report of a person firing what was thought to be an air-soft gun, according to a release.

When officers arrived they were not able to find the person, but they continued to investigate and eventually determined that the weapon being fired was a .22-caliber handgun, officials said. Officers also determined the person firing the gun was probably highly intoxicated and likely suicidal.

Just after 9 p.m., officers received a report of shots being fired at the same address, according to the release. Witnesses told police a man had fired a handgun numerous times while standing in the driveway of the apartment building at 5206 Spartan Drive.

Officers did not find the man, but were able to identify him as Neil J. Bannier, 35, officials said. Police formed a perimeter and started evacuating residents.

The Dane County Sheriff Tactical Team and officers from Monona, Stoughton, Cottage Grove and the Wisconsin State Patrol assisted in making contact with Bannier for several hours, according to the release.

Just after 1 a.m., officials decided to break down the perimeter but ke two officers monitoring the apartment building for public safety, authorities said. Just before 10 a.m. Sunday, officers at the scene took the man into custody as he was exiting his apartment.

Bannier was taken into custody without incident, according to the release. There is no longer any immediate threat to the community, but an investigation is ongoing.

Bannier faces tentative charges of felony bail jumping and second-degree recklessly endangering safety.