GRANT COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
GRANT COUNTY COURTHOUSE
130 WEST MAPLE STREET
LANCASTER, WI 53813
Lisa A. Riniker, Grant County District Attorney
Anthony J. Pozorski, Sr. Assistant District Attorney
Phone: 608 723-4237
Fax: 608 723-4382
October 18, 2017
Special Agent James C. Holmes
Special Agent Rafael De LaRosa
Wisconsin Department of Justice
Division of Criminal Investigation
17 W. Main St. P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707
RE: Officer Involved Death of Roger B. Helgerson, Jr.
DA Case No. 2017GT001091
Dear Special Agents Holmes and De La Rosa,
On September 1, 2017, Roger B. Helgerson Jr. died as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted by Grant County Deputy Andrew Smith. The Department of Criminal Investigation for the State of Wisconsin was called to investigate the officer-involved death. You transmitted your case file to me and I have now had an opportunity to thoroughly review that information.
My determination in this officer-involved death is that Deputy Smith acted within the confines of the law when using deadly force upon Mr. Helgerson. Just prior to encountering Mr. Helgerson on September 1, 2017, Deputy Smith received information from the Grant County Sheriff’s Department that Mr. Helgerson had made reference to having a shootout with law enforcement in reference to a foreclosure action. Having that knowledge, Deputy Smith had his department issued rifle ready for use. After a short vehicle pursuit of Mr. Helgerson, Deputy Smith positioned himself behind his opened squad car door and observed Mr. Helgerson getting out of his vehicle. Deputy Smith indicated that he observed Mr. Helgerson to have a gun and that Mr. Helgerson pointed the long gun at Deputy Smith causing him to use deadly force against Mr. Helgerson.
Deputy Smith’s assertions are corroborated by his squad car video. While overgrown vegetation and the position of the squad car camera make it difficult to see, there is a point in the video where there is an object in Mr. Helgerson’s right hand positioned next to his body which is pointed in the area where Deputy Smith would be.
Additionally, upon inspection of Mr. Helgerson, it was noted that a Glenfield MOD 75 Marlin .22 caliber long rifle was within his grasp located between Mr. Helgerson’s right arm and body. It is also noted that there was one bullet in the chamber and several unfired cartridges either on Mr. Helgerson’s person or in the immediate area of his body.
Given Mr. Helgerson’s act of pointing a firearm, Deputy Smith was entitled to use deadly force to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to either himself or Deputy Nemitz who was also on the scene. Because of that, criminal charges will not be filed against Deputy Smith.