WASHBURN COUNTY -- A criminal complaint has been filed in Washburn County Circuit Court against Tanner Boettcher, age 22, of Eau Claire, WI. The charges against Boettcher stem from a shooting incident that occurred in November 2019 in Minong Township during the deer hunting season.
The victim who was struck by the gunshot told investigating authorities that he was able to call 911 with his phone after being shot. He said that he called out for help as he had seen two individuals some distance away from his location prior to being shot, however, no one came to assist him. The victim also stated that he was sure the shot had come from the direction of those two people and that he heard several rapid shots immediately after.
Wardens for the Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene along with Deputies for the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office. The bullet that struck the victim entered slightly forward and under his left armpit; he suffered 3 broken ribs; his left lung had to be re-inflated, and the shrapnel which existed in his body from the bullet was so close to his heart that doctors did want to conduct surgery according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities located two individuals who were in the area of where the shooting occurred; Boettcher and a 14-year-old juvenile. When interviewed, Boettcher stated that neither he nor the juvenile fired any shots during their hunt, however, he stated that they had heard several shots some distance away. Additional witnesses from the vicinity of the shooting incident confirmed that several shots had been heard.
A search was conducted of the area around where the victim had been found. Photographs were taken and a metal detector was utilized; however, no shell casings were found. Investigating wardens did find footprints that appeared to be walking towards the area where the victim was found. The footprints were consistent with the tread of the boots that Boettcher had been wearing.
When investigating Wardens conducted subsequent interviews with Boettcher, he stated that the juvenile had shot towards what was thought to be a deer. Boettcher allegedly went on to state that he and the juvenile left the area after realizing that a person had been struck by the bullet, without offering any aid to the victim of the gunshot, and that they retrieved the shell casing so that Law Enforcement wouldn’t find it. Boettcher is charged with Class D Felony First Degree Reckless Injury, Party to a Crime; Misdemeanor Obstructing an Officer, Party to a Crime; and Misdemeanor Hunter/Fail/Duties/Accidental Shooting, Party to a Crime. He is scheduled to appear in Washburn County Circuit Court in June 2020 for an Initial Appearance on his criminal charges.
Due to the strict confidentiality of juvenile records, they are not available for public review. The status of any charges against the juvenile allegedly involved in this incident is not known to DrydenWire.com at this time.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.