Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

DA backs officer in shooting

by Rob Ireland

September 20, 2012

ELKHORN — The Waukesha County District Attorney has opined that the use of deadly force on a suspect fleeing the scene of bank robbery was not only reasonable, but the right decision.

On Aug. 24, at about 2:11 p.m., Walworth County dispatchers received a report of an armed robbery at the People’s Bank North, in the town of Sugar Creek.

A bank employee provided police with a description of the robber and his vehicle, and that vehicle was located and a chased ensued.

During the chase, Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Nichols was placing stop sticks in the road. The vehicle drove toward Nichols who fired his service weapon at the driver. The driver was shot in the arm.

“There was no question but that Deputy Nichols was exercising the privilege of self defense when he utilized deadly force to stop the vehicle being operated by Robert Lynn,” Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel wrote. Click Here to read Schimel's letter.

Lynn, 29, of the town of Bloomfield was arrested after being shot by police.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department referred charges to the district attorney’s office of robbery of a financial institution, false imprisonment, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, felon in possession of a firearm, intimidation of a victim, theft and fleeing. The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department investigated the officer-involved shooting.

Nichols was restored to full administrative duty on Sept. 18, according to a press release from the Walworth Sheriff’s Department.

Schimel’s letter, which was received by the Sheriff’s Department Sept. 17, states that he sees no reason to consider any charge against Nichols.

“This matter started with a brazen armed robbery of a bank in Walworth County,” Schimel wrote. “It progressed into an extraordinary dangerous high speed pursuit that flowed in Waukesha County and involved many different jurisdictions. Robert Lynn had traveled at speeds in excess of 80 mph on winding, hilly roads in which he had traveled blindly at high rates of speeds into areas where it was likely he would run into pedestrian or vehicular traffic.”

The letter states that Lynn traveled off the roadway and into a public park.

“(Nichols) knew that Robert Lynn had committed a desperate crime and was taking extraordinary risks to attempt to flee from law enforcement,” Schimel wrote. “Deputy Nichols also knew that Lynn was armed.”

The letter states that Nichols attempted to get out of the way of Lynn’s vehicle.

“It appears not only was Deputy Nichols reasonable in his use of force, he was right,” Schimel wrote. “After he discharged the first couple rounds, Lynn did finally slow the car and bring it to a stop.”