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Thursday - December 21, 2017 2:20 am

Jackson County deputy cleared in shooting death

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The BB gun De Ford had pointed at the deputy's head. The BB gun De Ford had pointed at the deputy's head.

A Jackson County sheriff's deputy has been cleared in the shooting death of a man in the town of Brockway back in October.

Deputy Justin Wathke was responding to a domestic call around 12:20 a.m. on Oct. 28.

Lucas De Ford had apparently made suicidal comments to the victim during the domestic. Police were informed the 27-year-old was likely intoxicated and he had keys to the victim's house.

Wathke spotted De Ford driving and followed him back to the victim's house, parking near him in the driveway.

That's apparently when De Ford quickly got out of his Chevy Trailblazer and ran around to the front of Wathke's squad to the driver's window. Wathke said De Ford's arm was fully extended and gun pointed at the deputy's head.

Wathke later said he thought he was going to be shot and killed. He struggled to get his gun out its holster while he sat in his squad car but managed to shoot De Ford twice through the squad's driver's side window.

De Ford stepped backward, then fell on his back. The gun fell out of his hands. Wathke tried to perform life-saving measures but De Ford died at the scene.

The gun he was holding resembled a Glock 22 9mm semi-automatic handgun but was later determined to be a BB gun.

Upon completion of an investigation by the state, the Jackson County DA found that Wathke was reasonable to believe he was in imminent danger and the use of deadly force was also reasonable.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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