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UPDATE: Walworth County Sheriff's Deputy Cleared

UPDATED Thursday, September 20, 2012 --- 7:58 a.m.

Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 --- 7:45 a.m.

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- An investigation has cleared a Walworth County sheriff's deputy who shot and wounded a bank robbery suspect after a chase last month.

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel found that Deputy Dan Nichols shot in self-defense when he fired at the suspect's vehicle.

Nichols had kneeled to put down stop sticks to try to puncture the suspect's fires when the suspect allegedly drove at him. The deputy fired at the vehicle, wounding the suspect.

The district attorney concluded Nichols' use of force "was the only reasonable decision he could make under those circumstances."

Authorities say the suspect drove off after the bank robbery in Town of Sugar Creek, reaching speeds of more than 80 mph through Walworth and Waukesha counties.

Nichols returned to full duty from administrative duty on Tuesday.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 --- 11:23 a.m.

Press Release:

Sheriff David Graves announces that Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel has completed his review of the officer involved shooting by Deputy Dan Nichols that occurred on August 24, 2012 in the Town of Mukwonago, Walworth County.

District Attorney Schimel’s review received on September 17, 2012 concludes the following: Deputy Dan Nichols was exercising the privilege of self defense when he utilized deadly force to stop the vehicle being operated by Robert Linn. Furthermore, the degree of force he used was the only reasonable decision he could make under those circumstances.

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation into this officer-involved shooting with the assistance of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Dan Nichols was restored to full duty from administrative duty on September 18, 2012.

Below is the letter received from District Attorney Brad Schimel.

_______________________________________________

RE:       Review of Use of Deadly Force by Deputy Dan Nichols
            DA Case No. 2012WK005499
              [Court Case #]

Dear Undersheriff Picknell:

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department has completed its investigation into the officer involved shooting by Deputy Dan Nichols that occurred on August 24, 2012.  I have completed my review of the very extensive and thorough reports relating to that incident, and am writing to advise you that I see absolutely no basis to consider any charge against Deputy Nichols relating to his use of deadly force against Robert Lynn. 

This matter started with a brazen armed robbery of a bank in Walworth County.  It progressed into an extraordinarily dangerous high speed pursuit that flowed into Waukesha County and involved many different jurisdictions.  Robert Lynn had traveled at speeds in excess of 80 mph on winding, hilly roads in which he had traveled blindly at high rates of speed into areas where it was very likely he would run into pedestrian or vehicular traffic.  He was pursued by numerous squads and passed numerous marked and unmarked squads that were attempting to stop him along the way.  He had traveled off of the roadway into a public park and then took up the chase once again.

When Deputy Nichols set out to deploy stop strips along the anticipated route, Deputy Nichols was aware of all of this information.  He knew that Robert Lynn had committed a desperate crime and was taking extraordinary risks to attempt to flee from law enforcement.  Deputy Nichols also knew that Lynn was armed.  It appears that Deputy Nichols set up the stop strips in a way that would minimize danger to himself, Robert Lynn and innocent civilians.  Lynn had plenty of warning that Deputy Nichols was set up on the roadway ahead.  Lynn, apparently seeing the stop strips, chose to go off the roadway in the east ditch.  In spite of having a clear view of Deputy Nichols, outside of his squad, Lynn continued toward the deputy.  At that point, Deputy Nichols was attempting to get out of the way as quickly as he could, however, the circumstances put him in a position that he needed to take steps to attempt to stop the vehicle before it would strike him.  It appears that not only was Deputy Nichols reasonable in his use of force, he was right.  After he discharged the first couple rounds, Lynn did finally slow the car and bring it to a stop.

It is extraordinarily fortunate that no one was hurt during this bank robbery and dangerous pursuit.  It is particularly fortunate that Deputy Nichols was not struck.  Under all of the circumstances, there is no
question but that Deputy Nichols was exercising the privilege of self defense when he utilized deadly force to stop the vehicle being operated by Robert Lynn.  Furthermore, the degree of force he used was the only reasonable decision he could make under those circumstances.  Therefore, there is no basis to consider any charge against Deputy Nichols relating to the discharge of his firearm on August 24, 2012 in the Town of Mukwonago.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Brad Schimel
District Attorney


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