Man and woman in custody after an armed standoff with Vernon County law enforcement near Ontario

ONTARIO, Wis. – A 42-year-old man a 40-year-old woman are in custody in Vernon County after numerous law enforcement agencies responded to a 911 call from female caller that said in a low voice “shots fired, please hurry.” According to Vernon County Sheriff Roy Torgerson the call came from an inactive cell phone using the phones emergency call function. That presented law enforcement the challenge of finding the location of the call. Torgerson said his team was able to geolocate that the call came from, or near, a residence just off of Hoff Valley Road near Ontario.

That first call came in just after 8 a.m. Monday morning and a deputy reported shots were coming from the residence when he arrived around 8:30. It is unclear if the person in the home was shooting at officers as they arrived. As more officers arrived they were intermittent reports of more shots being fired.

Torgerson said his team focused on setting up a perimeter initially to make sure the surrounding residents and community were safe. Torgerson credited his team with bringing the incident to safe conclusion without any injuries by constantly communicating and proceeding step by step.

“I am very fortunate to have two FBI trained negotiators on our team,” said Torgerson. “Through negotiation and communication we were able to get both people to come out unarmed.”

Torgerson also praised the methodical way his team went about their work.

“You never want to rush into a situation,” said Torgerson. “Part of having a highly trained team is also knowing when to show restraint. Once we know the community is safe, lets slow things down and do it right.”

Torgerson said they were able to get the male party on the phone and over time successfully get both the male and female party come out of the home voluntarily. At one point deputies used a loud speaker to ask the male party in the house to call the sheriffs deputies back after the lost communication. Torgerson said communication at the point was crucial as negotiators described what both individuals were wearing, even down to what was in their hands before they exited the home.

Torgerson said they did bring in an armored vehicle known as an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) but it wasn’t needed. Torgerson did not specify how many weapons or what kind were involved in the incident.

Torgerson did not identify the two individuals taken into custody but went on to say they did obtain a search warrant for the residence and they would be “investigating any possible criminal activity” at the residence. Torgerson said it was too early in their investigation to specify what charges might be filed as a result of the incident.

The incident began around 8 a.m. and the two individuals exited the residence right around 11 a.m.

An Amish neighbor confirmed the timeline of the incident and stated he was outside and heard a male voice shouting and swearing and banging on the home trying to get in. The man said a short time later, about 8:05 a.m. the man heard one shot that he said sounded like a shotgun. The man said a short time later, as his wife left the driveway to take their children to school he heard another shot. The man said he then heard intermittent shots every so often as officers arrived. The man said the female had been a resident at the home for about ten years and she did have school aged children but Torgerson said they had no reason to believe that any of the children were at the residence at the time of the incident.

Location of the residence at S339 Hoff Valley Road

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