UPDATE: Family members of Chris Richardson struggle for answers

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UPDATED: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 --- 10:34 p.m.

As new details are released into an officer-involved death in Rio, family members of Chris Richardson are struggling to find closure.

Richardson is accused of holding his girlfriend hostage, then leading officers on a chase and shooting at them, before fatally shooting himself.

"It just wasn't him," said Gae Richardson, ex-wife and friend of Chris.

Gae described him as a happy, optimistic father who loved his kids.

"He saw life as 'the glass is half full,' that's how he was," she said.

On July 1, Chris called her as he was being chased by law enforcement.

"I didn't really understand what he was saying at first, but he called to say he loved me and the boys," she said.

Then, she said her instinct was to stop him, so she tried to go after him in her own car. Deputies eventually pulled her over and took her into custody.

"Nothing else mattered except trying to save him. And I couldn't," she said.

The officers following him couldn't save him either. When they caught up to him, he had already died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"A lot of people [have said] 'that's not him, we don't know why he would have done that, he just doesn't seem to be like that,'" Columbia County Sheriff Dennis Richards said.

That's what made it a terrifying situation for everyone involved, Richards said.

"We don't know where that line stops. If they go and start shooting and that's not like that person to do that, where are they going to stop shooting?" he said.

For Richardson's family, the pain and confusion will never stop.

"It's hard to accept something that doesn't make sense, never will make sense. That someone like him would give up because he never gave up on anything, never," Gae said.

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015 --- 10:48 p.m.

Columbia County deputies involved in a shooting pursuit last month have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

42-year-old Christopher Richardson, of Rio, is accused of holding his girlfriend hostage, then leading officers on a chase and shooting at them, before fatally shooting himself.

Sauk County Sheriffs Office investigated the case, since a Columbia County deputy attempted to shoot at Richardson after he shot at officers during the chase. Sauk District Attorney Kevin Calkins concluded that officers had followed procedures.

"Although Mr. Richardson's death was a tragedy, it was not the result of any criminal conduct by law enforcement. Instead, on July 1, 2015, law enforcement officers merely did the job the taxpayers of Columbia County were paying them to do. In my opinion, they did it well," Calkins wrote in a letter to Columbia County officials.

The investigation reveals what officers dealt with that day. While in a 15 mile chase with Richardson, the report indicates another vehicle joined the chase and attempted to pass the squad cars. Officers indicated in their reports the subject was driving recklessly, and officers did not know the person's intentions.

They proceeded to stop the car and learned the driver was Richardson's ex-wife, who told police she received a call from Richardson saying he was going to "shoot it up with police and then shoot himself." She told officers he believed he had already shot one officer.

The investigation also details more about the alleged hostage situation that led up to the chase and shooting. Richardson's girlfriend said two days prior, Richardson attempted to drown her while they were staying the night on a sandbar along the Wisconsin River. Officers noted visible facial swelling on the woman's face.

"[She] said he began slamming her head against the sandbar and holding her head under water," a detective wrote in his report.

The next night, Richardson duct taped her and tried to put a pillow over her face, she said.

Investigators removed duct tape and several zip ties from Richardson's home after the chase.


UPDATED: Thursday, July 2, 2015 --- 6:21 p.m.

Authorities have identified the Columbia County man accused of holding his girlfriend hostage, then firing at deputies before killing himself Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff Dennis Richards says 42-year-old Christopher Richardson, of Rio, led deputies on a chase after his girlfriend called 911 and told authorities Richardson had duct taped her, and held her for up to two days.

Court documents obtained by NBC 15 News shows a similar situation happened in September 2014. Richardson's girlfriend told deputies he had duct taped her, beat her and threatened to kill her. He was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. The case was still open.

Officials with Columbia County Sheriff's Office confirmed the same girlfriend was involved in both incidents.

Friends of Richardson's say he was a well-known, and well-liked business owner in Rio. He operated "Po Boys" catering business.

"I'm sure everybody feels just the same that I do. Just very shocked," his friend, Jody Smith said.

Now, the small community of 1,000 residents is trying to heal.

"I don't know how we're going to go on. Obviously we will, but it puts us in a tough spot... We've had a lot of positive things [in Rio] and it just makes you think about things day to day," said Mark Watters, owner of Mark's Market in downtown Rio.

In the meantime, Smith said many questions remain about why this happened.

"There's always two sides to every story. He was a good guy. No body is perfect but he was an all-around good guy and good person," Smith said.

UPDATED: Thursday, July 2, 2015 --- 4:08 p.m.

RIO, Wis. (AP) -- Columbia County sheriff's officials say a man who held a woman captive took his own life after a shootout with deputies who were pursuing him.

Sheriff Dennis Richards says the woman was held against her will for two days by her boyfriend and was beaten. The woman says the man threatened to kill her, but she was able to escape from a vehicle he was driving about noon Wednesday and take shelter in a church near Rio where she called 911.

Responding deputies spotted the man's vehicle and began pursuit. Richards says the suspect fired shots at pursuing deputies, hitting a squad car twice. A deputy returned fire, but the suspect or his vehicle wasn't hit.

Richards says the man, identified as 42-year-old Christopher Dale Richardson of rural Rio, eventually pulled over and fatally shot himself. A pistol and rifle were recovered from his vehicle.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
UPDATED: Thursday, July 2, 2015 --- 3:28 p.m.

RIO, Wis.--- Officials identified the man who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after allegedly holding a woman hostage and leading police on a chase in Rio Wednesday.

He is identified as Christopher Dale Richardson, 42, of rural Rio, according to a release from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 1, 2015--- 6:21 p.m.

RIO, Wis, --- The Columbia County Sheriff tells NBC15 a hostage escaped after being tied up for two days, leading to a chase for the suspect.

Deputies say they got a call from the victim after she ran to a church in Rio. When they arrived to the area, they saw the suspect in his car and chased after him.

At one point authorities say the man shot from his car at a deputy following directly behind him. Another deputy fired back, but didn't hit the suspect, or his car.

The chase continued to the area of Hill Rd. and Waters Rd. in Rio, where they say the man shot and killed himself.

The victim was taken to UW Hospital. She is believed to be the suspect's girlfriend.

Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2015---4:14 p.m.

RIO, Wis: The Columbia County Sheriff's Department set up a road block at the intersection of West Hill Road and Waters Road because of a tactical situation.

Our reporter on the scene tell us that all access to West Hill Road is blocked.

We have a crew on the scene and will provide an update as soon as we have more information.