Wis. man charged with shooting aunt and uncle

TOWN OF MAINE, Wis. - A 21-year-old town of Maine man accused of shooting two relatives over the weekend was ordered held Monday on a $1 million cash bond.

Kyle Schaefer faces multiple charges of attempted homicide and reckless endangerment in connection with the Saturday night shooting of his aunt and uncle at the house they shared at 1655 North 44th Ave., about two miles west of Wausau off Highway U.

Witnesses told police that the victims were playing cards in the kitchen at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when Schaefer came out of the basement and without explanation began firing a rifle at them, according to court records.

Schaefer's aunt and uncle, Sandra and Patrick Schmitt, were hit before Schaefer went back to the basement, police said.

Witnesses told police they could think of no reason for Schaefer to have opened fire and that Schaefer said nothing before or after the shooting. He appeared to have targeted Patrick Schmitt, witnesses said, and Sandra likely was hit by a stray bullet, according to court records.

Neither police reports nor prosecutors in court today said anything about a possible motive for the shooting, but witnesses told police Schaefer had been distraught recently over the November death of his grandmother and had lost his job days before the shooting, according to court records.

Patrick Schmitt had spoken about Schaefer's inability to hold a job when the group was eating dinner earlier in the evening, reports said.

Witnesses told police those involved in the card game had one drink each with dinner and that no one knew whether Schaefer had been drinking, reports said.

A bloody scene

According to court records:

When police arrived at the home, they found Sandra Schmitt shot in the abdomen and sitting on the front porch of the home, covered in blood. She was conscious and able to communicate but unable to walk, so officers carried her to safety behind a car parked in the driveway. At one point, she told police Schaefer was "off the deep end" since his grandmother's death and that the gun used in the shootings might have been a .22-caliber rifle.

Officers then went into the home with guns drawn and found Patrick Schmitt lying on the floor of a bathroom, covered in blood. Two officers carried him to the safety of the parked car where they treated him for a wound from a bullet that appeared to have hit him in the left side of his chest and came out his back.

Both shooting victims were transported to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment, as was a witness who told police she was suffering from a panic attack after the shooting.

As the victims were being treated, officers from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department, Wausau Police Department and Wisconsin State Patrol moved through the house and eventually made their way to the lower level.

"As we approached the rear, lower entrance to the house Trooper Loonsfoot observed a male wearing a white shirt and blue jeans sitting on a swing smoking a cigarette," a report said. "Trooper Loonsfoot asked where the shooter was and the subject stated, 'It was me.' Trooper Loonsfoot asked who the shooter was and he again stated, 'Me.'

Officers arrested the man, later identified as Schaefer, without a struggle.

Schaefer was charged Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 14.


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