Prosecutors charge man arrested in motorcycle shop standoff

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 8:55 PM
Prosecutors charge man arrested in motorcycle shop standoff

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A man arrested after a hostage standoff at a Wisconsin motorcycle shop was accused Wednesday of firing a bullet into a woman's bedroom wall after a night of drinking.

Brian Flatoff, 45, faces several felony charges from what authorities say preceded a four-hour standoff Saturday at Eagle Nation Cycles in which a man was killed and an officer had a bullet bounce off his helmet.

Flatoff has not been charged in the standoff itself and authorities, citing an ongoing investigation, have released few details, including who they think fired the shot that killed 60-year-old Michael Funk, who worked at Eagle Nation.

A man who said he and Funk were among those taken hostage described a chaotic scene Wednesday afternoon in Neenah, about 100 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Ryan Moderson said police came in repeating "Drop your gun!" He said gunfire erupted and hit a fire extinguisher, filling the room with smoke.

Moderson said police pulled out and a short time later, when the gunman asked who was still in the building, he and another man spoke up. Funk was gone, he said. Moderson said the gunman told them to leave, and when he did he saw Funk lying in the alley.

Flatoff was charged with felony reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm from events before the standoff when he was at his friend's home. He also faces three counts of felony bail jumping. He was not asked to enter pleas during his initial appearance, and his bond was set at $500,000 cash.

Attempts to reach his public defender, Angela Wang, by phone and email weren't immediately successful.

The criminal complaint says Flatoff got angry after his friend Eva Lawson-Kranski said she was going to call 911 to get him an ambulance because he was stumbling around the living room. She said he ran into the bedroom with a .45-calier pistol, crawled onto the bed with a pillow as if he was going to put it over her face, straddled her and shot into the wall above her head.

Lawson-Kranski said he eventually calmed and decided to go to Eagle Nation to discuss a dispute over his motorcycle. She said she went to bed and woke up to a phone call from her husband telling her about the standoff. She said she then discovered that her Mac-10 handgun was missing.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has been investigating and says public disclosures could taint the probe.

Authorities have said police opened fire on Funk, who was armed when he left the shop. Funk's wife, attorney and longtime business partner all have said he was a hostage and shouldn't have been killed.

In their initial statement, Neenah police said one or more officers opened fire and that the gunman inside the shop also may have shot at Funk, who died of his wounds at a hospital.

Neenah police released a statement Wednesday, saying three officers have been placed on administrative leave.