No Charges Filed Against Officers In Fatal Middleton Workplace Shooting

2 Dane County Deputies, 2 Middleton Police Officers Stopped Shooter In September

WTS Paradigm
WTS Paradigm is located in this building in Middleton at 1850 Deming Way. John K. Wilson/WPR

There won’t be any criminal charges filed against law enforcement who shot and killed the gunman involved in a Middleton workplace shooting last September that injured three people.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced Monday that no officers will be charged for killing Anthony Tong, 43, who opened fire on his co-workers at the software company WTS Paradigm in the fall.

“The use of deadly force exhibited by law enforcement in this instance was privileged. Responding to an active shooter who is armed and is not responding to verbal commands to drop his weapon gives law enforcement no other option than to use deadly force as well,” Ozanne said during a press conference Monday at the Dane County Courthouse. He was joined by Middleton Police Chief Charles Foulke and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

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Two Dane County Sheriff’s Office deputies and two Middleton Police officers fired their guns at Tong. An investigation found Tong shot at officers before being stopped with a single shot to the chest.

“There is no way for us to determine which officer fired that shot,” Ozanne said.

Police said it was illegal for Tong to have a gun. He was forbidden from possessing a weapon since 2004 following a mental health incident in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where police responded. After the Middleton shooting, a search warrant of Tong’s home by local authorities revealed Tong had ammunition and other weapons at his house.

Mahoney said he believes no place is exempt from mass shootings.

“We must, as a community and a nation and if not a nation, a state, demand that our laws are changed to keep guns killing devices out of the hands of those who are not mentally capable or have a desire to harm others,” Mahoney said at the conference.

An investigation revealed Tong built the gun used in the shooting from parts that he got in the mail. Ozanne said even if South Dakota authorities had put information about Tong’s prohibition against owning a gun into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, it wouldn’t have prevented the incident.

“You are able to purchase 80 percent of a firearm and then through a couple of modifications, which you can probably figure out by watching YouTube, get the other pieces to have a functioning firearm without a background check,” he said.

Middleton police officers Tyler Loether, left, and Richard O’Connor. Photos courtesy of Middleton Police

Before being hired at WTS Paradigm, Tong had passed a background check, according to company officials.

Middleton Police officers Richard O’Connor and Tyler Loether, along with Dane County deputies David Lambrecht and Matthew Earll, were put on paid leave while the state Division of Criminal Investigation reviewed the incident. All are now back at work. Under Wisconsin law, outside investigations are required for all officer-involved shootings.