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Police followed rules in Wausau shooting incident

Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon on Friday ruled that five police officers who shot and killed rural Stratford resident Jack Bollinger, 35, at the Urban West Apartment Complex, Wausau, on Jan. 16 properly followed rules governing use of deadly force.

The district attorney called Bollinger’s drug-related death a “tragedy.”

According to a press release, a county sheriff’s deputy and a Wausau Police Department officer started firing hand-gun rounds at Bollinger after he pointed a 10mm pistol at the deputy. A gun battle ensued with Bollinger firing numerous rounds at the officers, who took cover in a parking garage. Some of Bollinger’s rounds struck the hood of a car of a female motorist coming home to the apartment complex.

The release states the officers shot and struck Bollinger as he ran across a parking lot. The officers pleaded with Bollinger, who fell to the ground, to drop his weapon, but he continued to hold onto the gun and, again, pointed it at the police. By this time, back-up police joined the two officers and they fatally shot Bollinger.

A toxicology report of Bolinger’s blood showed a level of methamphetamine so elevated that it could have been lethal. Such a level, read the report, could have caused psychosis, confusion, hallucinations and delusions. The report said Bollinger also had THC in his blood.

The press release quoted relatives who said Bollinger became addicted to pain killers after being in a car accident 15 years ago and, after travelling out of state, became addicted to heroin. Later, after entering a rehabilitation clinic, he was able to stay clean from drugs from August through October 2019, they said.

A female who had a relationship with Bollinger told police she carried Narcan because of Bollinger’s addiction to opiates. She said Bollinger was “adamant” about ever returning to jail for any reason.

On Jan. 14, Bolinger missed a court appearance date in Marathon County Circuit Court on a disorderly conduct charge.

A Kessler Funeral Home obituary said Bollinger had “a heart of gold” and was a talented chef and woodworker. He loved fishing and giving “long, loving hugs,” the obituary added.