Wisconsin man pleads not guilty in deadly motorcycle shop standoff

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 12, 2016 10:07 AM

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A Wisconsin man pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges related to a standoff at a motorcycle shop in which he allegedly shot at police and officers killed a hostage, court records showed on Tuesday.

Brian Flatoff, 46, pleaded not guilty to 16 felony charges on Monday in Winnebago County Circuit Court, where he is accused of a standoff with police on Dec. 5 in Neenah, a city about 100 miles (160 km) north of Milwaukee, court records said.

Flatoff, who is being held on a $500,000 cash bond, is facing life in prison if convicted. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Flatoff went to Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah after a long night and morning of drinking armed with a handgun to settle a dispute over his motorcycle, which he believed had been stolen, according to the complaint against him.

Flatoff fired at two officers as they tried to rescue three hostages from the shop. Police fatally shot hostage Michael Funk, who failed to drop a handgun during the rescue attempt, according to court documents.

A bullet struck the helmet of one of the officers, who was taken to a hospital and later released, prosecutors said.

Flatoff was charged with one count of murder because Funk was killed as a result of Flatoff's armed standoff, prosecutors said. He also was charged with false imprisonment, bail jumping and three counts of first-degree attempted intentional homicide, court records showed.

In March, Funk's widow filed a claim of more than $3.5 million against the officers involved in the standoff and the City of Neenah, according to a statement from her attorney.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Trott)