The suspect in a Neenah standoff has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A Winnebago County judge on Wednesday ordered a trial in the case of 46-year-old Brian Flatoff. Flatoff faces 16 charges in the December 5th standoff and shooting at Eagle Nation Cycles shop, and an incident at a friend’s house earlier that day.
The charges include a count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, for a shot that struck an officer in his ballistic helmet, and a count of felony murder, for the death of a hostage.
Court records say the incident started before 9:00 a.m. when Flatoff went to the shop to confront a man about a motorcycle that he believed was stolen from him. Flatoff told prosecutors that he meant to kill that man, but he wasn’t there. Records say he held the people in the shop hostage, after he saw the bike being disassembled.
The shooting started after 9:30 a.m. when police officers entered the building. They retreated after two of the five officers fell down a stairwell, and Flatoff shot at them. One of the hostages, 60-year-old Michael Funk, escaped when Flatoff told him to close a door. Records say officers shot Funk because he was holding a gun in a threatening manner, and didn’t drop it.
State law allows a standoff suspect to be charged with murder if a hostage is shot, while escaping. Flatoff later released two other hostages.