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Man with gun, seeking Governor Evers, is taken into custody twice at Capitol

by Erik Gunn, Wisconsin Examiner
October 5, 2023

A man who was arrested and jailed after he walked into the state Capitol with a gun looking for Gov. Tony Evers returned hours later with a rifle and was taken into custody again, authorities said Thursday.

Evers was not in the Capitol building when a man with a leashed dog and a handgun in a holster walked up to the security desk outside Evers’ office on the second floor of the Capitol a little before 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to an account from the Department of Administration (DOA). 

The man said he wouldn’t leave until he saw the governor, according to the DOA report. 

State law forbids open carrying of a firearm in a public building. Capitol police arrested the man and he was booked at the Dane County Jail on charges of violating that law. His dog was placed with the Madison animal control unit.

The man “bailed himself out” later that day, according to DOA spokeswoman Tatyana Warrick, and at about 9 p.m. Wednesday he “returned to the exterior of the Capitol with a loaded AK-47 style rifle, and again asked to see the Governor.”

Police spoke with the man and searched the backpack he was carrying. Inside was “a collapsible police-style baton, which is illegal as the man did not have a valid concealed carry permit,” according to the DOA account. 

“Based on concerning statements made by the man, officers took him into protective custody shortly before midnight for a psychiatric evaluation,” the account stated. Police seized the firearm for safekeeping and the baton as evidence for the concealed carry charge.

As of Thursday afternoon court records had not been posted online identifying the arrested man or charges in connection with the incident.

Evers’ office has not commented on the incident and has routinely declined to discuss security measures involving the governor. 

During a tour of a child care center Thursday, Evers told Emilee Fannon of CBS 58 (WDJT TV) in Milwaukee that Capitol police “took control of the situation. So it’s over but it’s always something you don’t want to see happen.” Fannon reported Evers’ comments on X (formerly Twitter). 

Fannon posted that in response to her question about whether it was “time to enhance security,” Evers said, “I’m sure they are looking at that as we speak but again that’s not something we talk about [or] something police talk about.”

In June 2022, Evers was reported to be on a target list of a man who killed a judge in Juneau County and then killed himself. 

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Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: info@wisconsinexaminer.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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