Saturday, October 24, 2020

Mauston cop charged in accidental shooting

A sergeant with the Mauston Police Department is facing charges after an alleged accidental shooting at his house last month sent another man to the hospital.

Michael Sturek, 39, Mauston, is charged in Juneau County Circuit Court with second degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of possession of a firearm while intoxicated and endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges.

The incident occurred Aug. 26, while Sturek was off duty. According to the criminal complaint, both Sturek and the shooting victim, who was not identified in the court document, were drinking when Sturek went to show the victim a handgun, which accidently fired. 

The bullet struck the victim in the groin area and lodged in his left thigh. He was taken to Tomah Health and eventually transported to the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse for surgery to remove the bullet. 

During questioning, Sturek told investigators that he and the victim had gotten together at his residence around 8 p.m. Sept. 25 and “were just hanging around and having cocktails,” the complaint said. Sturek reportedly told investigators he had about 12 beers throughout the night and into the next morning. 

The detective who initially interviewed Sturek said he could smell alcohol on the defendant and could tell he was intoxicated by the way he talked. 

During that interview, Sturek reportedly told the detective that at some point while he and the victim were at the house, they started looking at the guns in Sturek’s gun safe. The victim reportedly showed interest in a pistol, which Sturek then removed from the safe. 

According to the criminal complaint, Sturek said he went to clear the gun when it discharged. Sturek, who is a firearms instructor, allegedly told the investigator he didn’t know how the gun went off, saying he did not have his “booger picker on the bang switch”, which is jargon for finger on the trigger.

Investigators recovered the spent casing and a number of live rounds at the scene along with the pistol, and paper towels and a cloth towel with red stains. 

Sturek is scheduled for an initial appearance Oct. 28 at 9 p.m. If convicted on all counts, he faces 11 years in prison.   

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Office Number: (608) 269-3186
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