A volatile relationship and events that transpired in the days leading up to a standoff with police contributed to the fatal shooting of a Fond du Lac Police officer. That’s according to the findings of an investigation into the March 20th incident, which was released Monday by Fond du Lac County District Attorney Dan Kaminsky.
The shooting claimed the life of Officer Craig Birkholz, and injured Officer Ryan Williams and his police dog. Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb says his officers performed heroically and their actions were justifiable under the extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
The report details the events leading up to the standoff between police and James Cruckson, which started after police went to his home as part of an investigation into a sexual assault complaint and because of concerns a six-year-old child was inside.
Recorded phone messages the Cruckson made for girlfriend indicated he blamed her for cheating on him during a trip to Florida. Cruckson allegedly raped his girlfriend and in a message to her said the shooting would not have occurred if she had gone to her mother’s house instead of reporting the assault to police.
Kaminsky says a text message Cruckson sent to his father shortly before taking his own life indicated he was ready to die.
The investigation found Cruckson fired 48 rounds during the standoff, including the one that took his own life. Police fired off 60 to 65 shots, but most of it was suppression fire. The only wound Cruckson suffered from police was to a finger, which a bullet grazed and broke.
Bob Nelson, KFIZ