One state agent charged in shooting of Quadren Wilson
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - One of the state agents involved in the shooting of Quadren Wilson during his arrest earlier this year has been charged, Dane County court records confirm.
Dane County court records indicate that a charge of second-degree recklessly endangering safety- use of a dangerous weapon was filed against Mark Wagner Thursday morning. He appeared at 8:30 a.m. in Dane County Circuit Court and court records also note that Quadren Wilson’s attorney Steve Eisenberg was present.
The court commissioner set Wagner’s signature bond at $500, which he will need to pay only if he misses a court date. Wagner will appear in court again on Oct. 28 for a status conference.
If convicted, the charge carries a maximum possible penalty of $25,000 or 10 years in prison.
Eisenberg said he wants to see charges filed against the other agent who fired his weapon, Nathan Peskie. He also wants a full investigation into how the arrest was planned.
”A lot of police officers got together and said ‘we gotta take down this guy, we gotta take him down hard,’ and I don’t know why there was a decision,” said Eisenberg. “It’s not just the shooting, it’s what happened before. Who thought this was a good idea? To nail this guy on a busy street at 8:30 in the morning.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul noted that as Wagner is a special agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, his department will not be speaking out on the facts in the case.
“DOJ will not be weighing in on the facts of this case as it moves through the judicial system in order to avoid having any possible impact on the outcome,” said Attorney General Kaul. “DOJ is evaluating this matter internally and will continue to do so to the extent possible without interfering with the ongoing case.”
As of 5 p.m., no charges have been filed against the other state agent, Nathan Peskie.
Defense law expert John Gross said he didn’t expect charges to be filed against Peskie.
“I don’t see any reason why if you were going to charge Officer Peskie, you wouldn’t charge them both simultaneously,” Gross said. “So I think the charges being brought against just one officer and not the other officer who also fires suggests that Officer Peskie is not going to be charged, at least not with some type of reckless endangerment.”
Criminal complaint details Wilson’s arrest
A 12-page criminal complaint released Thursday details the shooting and why officers said they fired their weapons.
During a briefing before Wilson’s arrest on Feb. 3, the state agents learned their assignment would be to arrest Wilson on an outstanding Wisconsin Department of Corrections warrant.
According to the complaint, officials learned of different potential ways that Wilson would be arrested, including a Subject in Custody (SIC) maneuver. A SIC maneuver, or a “vehicle containment,” is when law enforcement pin someone’s vehicle between two law enforcement vehicles in order to arrest them, the complaint explained.
When officers arrived just after 8 a.m. on Feb. 3, DCI agents Wagner and Peskie approached the vehicle. Wagner had a shield and his gun was drawn. Peskie was carrying a rifle. A third agent was identified in approaching the vehicle and carrying a Halligan tool. This type of tool is typically used to open locked doors, open padlocks and break chains. They ordered Wilson to show his hands and the third agent used the tool to break out the rear driver’s side window to allow more light in the vehicle.
The complaint states that Wilson was revving the engine of the vehicle and smoke was coming from the front tires. Then according to Wagner, shots were heard and he fell backwards.
The complaint cites an interview with Wagner, in which he said that as he was approaching the vehicle, he saw Wilson’s left arm extended down between his legs and he could not see his hand. Wilson’s right hand was reaching for something on the center console, Wagner explained.
Wagner said as Wilson started to turn to the left to square his body up to him, Wagner heard a gunshot and he fell backwards. Wagner said he thought he fired his handgun almost simultaneously with hearing a gunshot. The complaint also cites him saying he believes he fired one round from his gun.
When asked why he fired his weapon, Wagner said it was to prevent him and Agent Peskie from being shot and he thought Wilson had a gun. There were no guns found or evidence of firearms found in Wilson’s car after a search, the complaint said.
Peskie said that he saw Wilson’s hand balled into a fist and he saw a “square object” in Wilson’s hand that he thought was the muzzle of a gun. He then said he saw what he thought was a hole punched in the glass of the driver’s side window and glass shattered, which looked like a gunshot coming from inside the vehicle toward Wagner. He then saw Wagner fall down, thought Wagner had been hit, then fired into Wilson’s vehicle. Peskie said he fired three to five times into the vehicle.
In a check of Wagner’s ammunition count, the complaint states that his magazines were 17-round capacity and he had loaded 16 rounds before the shooting. There were 13 rounds in the magazine and one slid out from the chamber. A deputy who was removing the rounds said that indicates two of the shots fired during the incident came from Wagner’s gun.
Peskie had previously indicated that there were two 30-round rifle magazines associated with the firearm, loaded with 28 rounds each. After analyzing a round count for Peskie’s weapon, the complaint said it was determined that there were 23 rounds in the rifle, including one in the chamber.
Wagner told Dane County detectives that he has participated in 40-50 similar arrest maneuvers in his career. It was noted that Wagner has 27 years of law enforcement experience and Peskie had 19 years of experience.
Wilson’s family and lawyer previously told NBC15 News that Wilson was shot five times in the back. The criminal complaint clarified that Wilson was hit by five metal fragments from one bullet in his lower back.
The complaint did not state what gun the bullet that struck Wilson was fired out of.
DA Ozanne previously said decision would ‘likely’ become public this week
Dane County Board Supervisor Tim Kiefer asked Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne when the decision of whether or not to charge the state agents who fired their weapons during Wilson’s arrest would be made during the Sept. 14 county board meeting.
“I have made a decision and that decision, that information will be likely come public next week, sometime,” Ozanne said.
Ozanne did not specify what day he would be making the announcement.
Ozanne said in July that there was no “specific timeline” for when he would make a charging decision on whether or not he thinks the shooting was justified.
According to unsealed search warrants, officers say they thought Wilson fired first, but since the arrest, investigators have confirmed he was unarmed at the time he was taken into custody. Wilson survived his wounds.
The Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office previously sent out a press release saying they had completed their investigation into Wilson’s case and had turned everything over to the DA’s office. Two county board members, including Kiefer, had criticized the DA’s office in a prior meeting, arguing it was taking too long to make a charging decision.
NBC15 News has reached out to the Dane County District Attorney’s Office and Wisconsin Professional Police Association for comment and will update this story as we learn more. NBC15 has also reached out to Wagner’s attorney.
Copyright 2022 WMTV. All rights reserved.