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More details released on Onalaska standoff

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john czapiewski
John Czapiewski

ONALASKA, Wis. (WXOW) - Onalaska Police provide more information on an incident Sunday morning where a man held off police for more than three hours before he was taken into custody.

On Monday, Onlaska Police Chief Charles Ashbeck said in a statement on how the events occurred:

On Sunday, April 4th, 2021 at approximately 07:03 am Onalaska officers were dispatched to 646 2nd Ave SW in the City of Onalaska to assist with removing an unwanted party. The caller advised her uncle, John Czapiewski, was sleeping on their back porch and she does not want him there. The caller also advised he can be very volatile. Approximately seven minutes later three Onalaska officers arrived on scene. Officers attempted contact via the back porch but the door was locked. Contact with the homeowner was made and an officer was allowed to enter the porch area from within the home.

As the officer unlocked the porch door for the remaining officers, Mr. Czapiewski was advised it was time to get up. He responded, “yeah” and as he rolled over from under a blanket, he pulled out a black handgun and pointed it towards the officers. The officer closest to Mr. Czapiewski
observed the firearm and shouted “gun” as the officers quickly retreated out the back of the porch and took up positions of cover in the backyard. Officers were able to quickly establish a perimeter and have the homeowners safely exit the home through the front door.

An attempt was made to communicate with Mr. Czapiewski to drop the firearm and come out and talk to the officers. He refused to exit the porch. Due to statements made of Mr. Czapiewski’s volatile past and the observed possession of a firearm, the Onalaska Police Department requested
the assistance of the La Crosse County Emergency Response Team (ERT). At 10:03 am ERT arrived on scene and began negotiating with Mr. Czapiewski.

At approximately 10:24 am, officers at the rear of the home observed Mr. Czapiewski point the firearm out one of the porch windows. Given
the increased threat, an ERT Member fired five rounds in the direction of Mr. Czapiewski. Moments later a different ERT Member deployed a less lethal gas round into the porch in an effort to convince Mr. Czapiewski to exit the porch. Approximately a minute later, Mr. Czapiewski
exited the porch and was safely taken into custody.

Medical personnel were immediately requested on scene, at which time Mr. Czapiewski refused medical treatment. No other parties were injured in the incident. Mr. Czapiewski was arrested for Intentionally Pointing a firearm at Person, Criminal Trespass to Dwelling, Failure to comply with
officer and Bail Jumping. Mr. Czapiewski was taken to the La Crosse County Jail.

As standard protocol when deadly force is used by an officer, the Onalaska Police Department in conjunction with the La Crosse Co. Sheriff’s Department, requested the assistance of the La Crosse Police Department to conduct an external review of the incident and level of force used.

The Onalaska Police Department wishes to thank multiple agencies which assisted with this incident, to include Holmen, West Salem, Campbell and La Crosse Police Departments. We would also recognize the Onalaska Fire Department, Tri-State Ambulance, La Crosse Co. Public Safety
Communications and La Crosse Co. Sheriff’s Department for their assistance with this incident.

The names of the officers that fired the less rounds wasn't released.

Also on Monday, Czapiewski had charges filed against him. The most serious of the charges is a felony charge of 2nd-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon. He also is facing a felony charge of Fail/Comply-Officer/Person into Custody by Use of a Dangerous Weapon. There are also a dozen misdemeanor charges ranging from theft, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, and bail jumping.

Bond was set at $10,000 cash.

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