The standoff began around 9:00 AM at Eagle Nation Cycles in the town of Neenah, when an armed man came into the shop and demanded his motorcycle that had been sold and brought to the shop for repairs.
The owner, Steve Erato, went upstairs to see what was going on after hearing a commotion, but was silently warned by his employee, 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran Michael Funk, to go back downstairs.
Funk was then held hostage along with two customers as Erato communicated with police from the basement. When police tried to enter, they were fired upon. One officer was struck by a bullet, but was saved by his ballistics helmet.
Eventually, Funk was permitted to leave the building after a deal was worked out with a hostage negotiator, but police claimed he was armed and fired upon him as he exited, killing him.
“I can’t imagine that he had a gun on him and wouldn’t use it on the shooter and would run out and threaten the cops,” Erato said, according to the Post-Crescent. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“He was a hostage coming out (of the building),” he added. “They shot him in the alley. They shot the wrong guy.”
The police maintain that Funk was armed, however.
“This subject did not comply with officers’ instructions to drop the firearm and was subsequently shot at by one or more officers on scene,” police said in a statement. “We do not know if he was also shot at by the subject inside the business.”
Funk claimed in that arrest that despite alerting police that he was legally carrying a concealed weapon, he had guns pointed at his head as he was taken into custody.
The circumstances of this shooting have lead many to cry foul on the police department.