Man dies after police say he shot himself while being transported to Kenosha County Jail

Man was arrested for 'weapons related offenses' Thursday afternoon

Matty Ring (CC BY 2.0)

The Pleasant Prairie Police Department said a man fatally shot himself while he was in the back seat of a squad car being transported to the Kenosha County Jail Thursday afternoon.

A statement from the department said the man was arrested for “weapons related offenses” at around 3:45 p.m. Thursday. Two officers were taking the man to the jail and were near the entrance of the facility when they heard a gunshot from the back of the car.

“Preliminary information indicates the arrestee suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a concealed weapon not located in the initial search by officers. Life-saving measures were attempted, however the arrestee was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the statement said.

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The Kenosha County Jail was placed on a short lockdown after the incident occurred.

The man’s name and age have not been released by police yet. Police also did not say if the man was handcuffed while he was being transported.

Pleasant Prairie Police Chief David Smetana didn’t respond to an interview request, but he did confirm the Racine County Sheriff’s Office is now in charge of the investigation. Members of the Criminal Investigations Bureau are leading the investigation, according to Racine County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Michael Luell.

“Once completed, these investigations are normally reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office to determine if any criminal laws were violated,” Luell said in an email.

Police have also not released the names of the officers in the vehicle.

Monica Cummings, an assistant minister at Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist, went to the scene shortly after it occurred. She said about 30 people also gathered to ask police what had happened. She urged police to be transparent and communicate with the public.

“Just keep people updated,” Cummings said. “What I would really like to see happen, is when a critical incident like that happens, rumors start to circulate. Stop the rumors.”

She shared the police department’s social media post about the incident to Facebook and wrote “Communication and transparency, please.”

“I was trying to help de-escalate the situation, and I was trying to encourage the police to help me de-escalate,” she said.