Wisconsin officers cleared in fatal shooting of armed man

RACINE, Wis. (AP) — Nearly a dozen Wisconsin law enforcement officers who opened fire on an armed man wanted for allegedly trying to run over a police officer won’t face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced Thursday.

Hunter Hanson, 25, was shot three times and died after 11 officers from different agencies opened fire on him following a standoff in a farm field in January. Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson wrote in a report that Hunter Hanson twice raised a handgun toward the officers.

She said that the officers did their best to talk Hunter Hanson into surrendering and gave first aid after he was shot.

“If the officers were just there to take a life, I would have expected a different response,” the district attorney wrote.

Hunter Hanson was charged in 2019 with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors alleged that in December 2018, he walked into an auto parts store, threatened the manager and tried to use his vehicle to hit a responding police officer as he drove away, the Racine Journal-Times newspaper reported in January.

In December 2022, he was on bail awaiting trial when he fled from a traffic stop and removed his GPS ankle monitor, according to the district attorney’s report. A U.S. marshal spotted him driving on Jan. 16, leading to a high-speed chase.

Hunter Hanson eventually crashed his pickup into a creek and tried to flee across a Kenosha County field but officers closed in and a standoff followed, according to the report. The standoff went on for about 1.5 hours as he held a handgun. He grew increasingly agitated and twice raised the gun toward officers, a Racine County Sheriff’s sergeant told investigators. The second time he raised the gun toward them, they opened fire.

The Associated Press attempted to reach Mark Richards, Hunter Hanson’s attorney in the attempted homicide case, via email and phone.