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Deputies on leave after shooting incident

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crime and courts River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Two members of the county Emergency Response Unit are on administrative leave after a shooting incident in Hudson early Sunday morning.

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Sheriff Dennis Hillstead said the two deputies were part of the SWAT team that was called in to assist the Hudson Police Department in a hostage situation that developed about 5:40 p.m. Saturday at 1321 St. Croix Heights behind Hudson High School.

"The deputies are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, until the shooting investigation is completed," Hillstead said.

The Polk County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation. "After we receive the report from Polk County, a review board made up of various law enforcement officers will review the incident," the sheriff said, "The results will be sent to the district attorney for consideration."

Hillstead said, "In the meantime the deputies involved are offered a counseling service." The sheriff declined to name the officers until the investigation is completed.

The Hudson Police Department responded to a 911 call that said Daniel Christenson, 43, was shooting inside the house and four other persons, including Zachary Christenson, 19, son of the homeowner and three teen-aged friends were in the house.

At 5:48 p.m. HPD secured and evacuated the area then called for assistance from the Emergency Response Unit. North Hudson police, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State patrol were also involved in the incident.

At 6:12 p.m. Zachary Christenson and his three friends escaped through a basement window.

At 12:43 a.m. Sunday negotiations had broken down and chemical spray was injected into the house. Christenson fired on officers then came out through the front of the house.

When he pointed an automatic pistol at officers, a deputy fired one round apparently hitting Christenson, who was then airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for treatment. He was reported in critical condition with wounds to his chest and stomach.

Prior to heading out the front door, Christianson went to the back of the house and fired at a deputy who returned fire. Only the two deputies returned fire, the sheriff said.

The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) commonly known as a SWAT team, was established in St. Croix County in 1987. Chief Deputy John Shilts said there are 13 active duty deputies who have been specially trained to serve in the unit.

The last deputy involved shooting took happened in Feb. 23, 2008, in rural Hammond. A review board determined that both deputies involved were justified in the fatal incident.

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