Appleton, Wis. — A call to assist a man thought to be having a medical emergency on a bus escalated into a shooting that ended with the man and an Appleton firefighter dead and two others hurt, authorities said Thursday. The incident began at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday as police, firefighters and an ambulance went to help a 47-year-old man arriving in downtown Appleton on a bus from out of the area, police said.
The first responders gave medical help to the man, who eventually left the bus and started walking toward a nearby library, police said.
“While attending to the male, believed to be from the Wausau area, the incident escalated into shots being fired,” police said in a statement.
Firefighter Mitch Lundgaard, a 14-year veteran, was killed. CBS Green Bay affiliate WFRV-TV reports that Lundgaard war married and a father of three children. The Appleton Fire Department, with permission from the Lundgaard family, has set up a donation page in his honor on GoFundMe.
A female bystander and an Appleton police officer were also hit. The woman was hospitalized in stable condition, and the officer was treated and released.
The 47-year-old man died at a hospital from his injuries, police said. Police didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking additional details.
Tori Mourning lives across the street from the transit center and heard the gunfire.
“I looked up. I heard a pow and I thought it was the lawnmower firing. I heard it again. I looked up because you could see the bus stop from my bedroom window, looked at the tree. I saw the guy shoot a female and she went down. And another shot was fired and there was another male and he went down and I saw the shooter flee,” Mourning told local news station WBAY-TV.
Mourning said she yelled for her children as soon as she realized shots were fired. “I screamed through my house that those are gunfire and everyone get down,” Mourning said.
A long line of emergency vehicles escorted Lundgaard’s body from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office in Milwaukee, where an autopsy was done, back to Appleton on Thursday.
Police on motorcycles led the procession as it made its way north about 120 miles on Interstate 41. Firefighters with their truck lights flashing positioned themselves on interstate overpasses as the procession passed by on the way to an Appleton funeral home.
Firefighters stood silently at the medical examiner’s office as the procession began, just as they had when the body arrived in a flag-draped casket overnight.
Gov. Tony Evers sent his condolences Thursday to the family and colleagues of the firefighter. Evers tweeted he and his wife, Kathy, “send our deepest sympathies to the family, friends (and) colleagues of the firefighter who lost their life last night.”
“We stand with our brave first responders … as they mourn this loss,” Evers said.