Medical examiner identifies high school student shot and killed in Fitchburg

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FITCHBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - The Dane County Medical Examiner's Office identified 17-year-old Shay R. Watson as the teen who was shot and killed in Fitchburg Sunday night.

Shay R. Watson (Courtesy of TKO Photo Arts)

Preliminary results from an autopsy confirm that Watson died from homicidal firearm-related trauma. Additional testing is underway at this time.

As NBC15 reported on The Morning Show, officers responded to the 2700 block Lyman Lane after a person found the teen, now identified as Watson, dead in their home.

The community also remembered Watson at a candle-light vigil Monday night at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, where dozens gathered to honored their friend, student and athlete.

"He always was positive, always lifted people up no matter what he was going through. He always had a smile on his face," said Quan Kaffey, a friend of Watson's.

"Shay was a respectful, 17-year-old boy who is not going to see his first day of senior year," said Savanna Rainey, another friend of Watson's.

Fitchburg Police Chief Chad Brecklin said at a press conference just before 4 p.m. Monday that the evidence does not suggest the homicide was a random act. Brecklin also said he does not believe there is any immediate threat to the community.

The police chief also announced increased patrols in the neighborhood where the homicide happened.

Brecklin added that there are a number of people being questioned regarding the homicide.

You can donate to Watson’s family at, who is asking for donations to offer reward money for information that will lead to the arrest of suspects in the homicide.

Anyone with information regarding this incident, including neighborhood home surveillance video from Sunday evening, is asked to contact the Fitchburg Police Department at (608)270-4300.

Anonymous tips can be shared by calling the Fitchburg Police Tipster Line at (608)270-4321 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608)266-6014.

According to Nichelle Nichols, MMSD Executive Director for Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement with, the victim played football at Madison West High School prior to attending the Verona Area School District. She commented on Watson's death while MMSD teachers attended a conference and training at the Alliant Energy Center Monday morning.

"The other thing I want to let you know is that I’ve been texted this morning by several folks about a young man who’s one of ours," said Nichols."We have kids right now that will not be in school until next week. They’re hurting. They’re on social media. People are numb."

The Verona Area High School Principal Pam Hammen declined to talk with NBC15 on camera, but released a statement to families Monday afternoon:

"It is with a heavy heart that we share the unfortunate news of the death of one of our Verona Area High School students which occurred over this past weekend. First and foremost, our deepest sympathies go to the family of this student. At this time, we are not able to release the name of the student as the investigation continues, nor do we know any further details about the incident at this time."

According to online court records, Watson is also facing criminal charges from two separate cases this year. At this time, there's no reported link between an Aug. 15 court appearance, the charges, and the homicide investigation. According to the records, Watson was charged just last month for felony bail jumping, disorderly conduct and substantial battery. These charges follow a separate charge filed last winter when Watson was accused of recording a sexual act without consent with a person under 18. NBC15's call to the Dane County District Attorney's office regarding Watson's recent court appearance was not returned on Monday.