UPDATE: Judge Orders Competency Exam for Suspect in Wittenberg Hostage Situation

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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UPDATE: Fri 10:31 AM, May 16, 2014

The case against a 28-year-old Oconto County man charged with entering the McDonald's/ Shell Gas Station in Wittenberg and holding an employee hostage has stalled as the judge has ordered a psychological evaluation.

Travis Keiler is charged with taking hostages, failing to comply with officers, disorderly conduct, and carrying a concealed weapon. He remains in custody on a $50,000 cash bond.

The incident happened April 22. No one, including the suspect, was injured.

A review of Keiler's competency exam is expected to take place June 2.

UPDATE: Tues 2:30 PM., May 6, 2014

A 28-year-old Oconto County man accused of entering the Wittenberg Shell and McDonald's on April 22 and taking one person hostage is behind bars on a $50,000 cash bond.

Travis Keiler is charged with taking hostages, failing to comply with officers, disorderly conduct, and carrying a concealed weapon.

According to court documents, Keiler entered the business and told the cashier at Shell he'd be taking over her shift. The woman said she pushed the 911 call button after she noticed the man had a gun.

The Sheriff's Department says Keiler allowed all but one of the people inside the business to leave.

A crisis negotiator arrived on scene around 2:30 p.m., about a half hour after Keiler entered the business. According to court documents, Keiler said he had quit his job and had been driving around. Keiler reportedly told authorities he had stolen the handgun from a relative. The hostage was allowed to leave the building about an hour later. He was unharmed, but did tell investigators the gun had been pointed directly at him.

The Sheriff's Department believes the suspect may have been suffering from depression.

Keiler is expected to return to court May 13 to learn if his case will head to trial.


UPDATE: Wed 12:04 PM, April 23, 2014

Captain Tom Tuma of the Shawano County Sheriff's Department says Travis Keiler, 28, of Gillett, remains in the Shawano County jail and is facing charges after a hold-up at the Wittenberg McDonald's.

Authorities say Keiler entered the business around 2 p.m. They say he never demanded money but did display a gun. The suspect did allow all the employees to leave, except one. That employee was not harmed and was let go about an hour later. Sheriff Randall Wright told NewsChannel 7 following the incident Tuesday the alleged victim was calm and seemed to be in good spirits given the situation.

Authorities say Keiler surrendered himself to a negotiator around 4 p.m. and was arrested without incident.

Captain Tuma said they're still investigating why Keiler picked McDonald's and are still going over what charges he could face.


UPDATE: Tues 9:13 PM, April 22, 2014

The Shawano Co. Sheriff says investigators are talking with witnesses to piece together what exactly happened and why.

NewsChannel 7 talked with Roxanne Nitecki, the clerk working at the Shell Gas Station. She says the suspect walked right through the front doors and told her he was taking over her shift.

Nitecki says, "I asked him if he was here to rob us - he said no. 'I'm waiting for the police. I've had a bad day.'"

That's when Nitecki says she pushed the alarm.

There were still customers inside at this time. And she says she helped get them out.

Nitecki worked at the Shell Gas Station for the past five years and says she's never experienced anything like this.

The Shawano Co. Sheriff, Randy Wright, says the suspect never demanded money and at this point a possible motive is depression. Sheriff Wright says the suspect is being evaluated and charges are expected to be filed.

As for the hostage, Sheriff Wright says he's in good spirits and was very calm and well composed.


UPDATE: Tues 4:47 PM, April 22, 2014

The Shawano County Sheriff's Department says a 28-year-old Gillett man is in custody after investigators say he threatened law enforcement, but did not demand money.

Authorities from multiple department responded after someone pulled the panic alarm at the McDonald's/Shell Gas Station off of Highway 29 and 45.

The sheriff's department said the suspect allowed everyone to leave, expect one employee. The employee was allowed to leave about an hour later.

Investigators say the suspect was armed with a handgun.

The suspect surrendered around 4 p.m.

UPDATE: Tues 4:14 PM, April 22, 2014

A Trooper with Wisconsin State Patrol tells NewsChannel 7 the suspect in a hostage situation at the Wittenberg McDonald's has surrendered himself to a negotiator and was taken into custody.

The Trooper said no one was injured as result of the incident.

UPDATE: Tues 4:03 PM, April 21, 2014

The Shawano County Chief Deputy tells NewsChannel 7 the incident at the Wittenberg McDonald's was a hostage situation, but does not appear to be anymore.

The Marathon County SWAT Team, Wisconsin State Patrol and Shawano County Sheriff's Department remain on scene.

The road block is still in place.

UPDATE: Tues 3:22 PM, April 22, 2014

Staff at the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District tell NewsChannel 7 they have released students at the High School and Elementary School, after being in a secure lockdown for about 45 minutes. The schools are just about two blocks away from the McDonalds where there is still an active police response situation. Staff, parents, and bus drivers were asked to avoid the area of the McDonalds until further notice.

A trooper from the Wisconsin State Patrol says the SWAT Team has been paged to respond. The departments were originally called to the scene in response to a hold-up.

The Trooper says one person remains inside the McDonald's.

ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 2:52 PM, April 22, 2014

Multiple law enforcement officers are responding to the McDonald's near Highway 29 and Highway 45.

The situation has prompted a closure of a portion of Genesee Street in Wittenberg.

A witness tells us she and her family were instructed to stay in their home.

NewsChannel 7 has crew at the scene and will bring you the latest development as they become available.

Wittenberg Scene

Wittenberg Scene

Photo Courtesy: Jorwin Roth

Photo courtesy: Jorwin Roth

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