Fitchburg Police investigating homicide of Verona Area High School student

By  | 

FITCHBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - The Fitchburg Police Department is investigating the death of a Verona Area High School student. Monday night, the Dane County Medical Examiner's office identified the student as Shay Watson, 17. The preliminary results of the autopsy show he was shot.

Fitchburg police investigating the homicide of a Verona Area High School student on Aug. 26, 2019.

According to the Fitchburg Police Department, just after 9 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 2700 block Lyman Lane after a person found a male dead in a home. At that time, they did not release the name or identity of the young man.

Officers confirmed the death is being investigated as a homicide. This is Fitchburg's first murder in 2019.

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 did not believe there is any immediate threat to the community.

"Police obviously remains at paramount concern for our department and we also have no specific information that there is immediate threat to anyone in the community," Brecklin said.

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

Brecklin did not name any suspects, but said there are a number of people being questioned regarding the homicide.

According to Nichelle Nichols, MMSD Executive Director for Equity, Partnerships, and Engagement with, the victim played football at Madison West High School prior to moving into 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 on Monday:

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.

We are sharing this information with families so they may monitor their own students’ emotional well-being in case they may have known this student. Our student services team including counselors will be available to provide any support needed.

As always, news such as this impacts our entire school community and, again, our deepest sympathies go out to the family.

Verona students returned to the classroom for the 2019-2020 school year on Aug. 23.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting, 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.