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Sussx man racks up many charges after shootout in Waukesha

Oct. 30, 2012

An Oct. 23 shootout with police on Waukesha's east side ended with nine felony charges for a Sussex man. The incident came just two days after the nearby deadly shooting at the Azana Spa in Brookfield and only weeks after a similar standoff in the city.

Police responded to a residence at 1825 E. Racine Ave. shortly after 4 p.m. that day, where Richard A. Petarius, 76, wielded a sawed-off 12-guage shotgun and fired at an officer. According to the criminal complaint, Petarius was at the residence in a confrontation with his ex-wife, who had filed a domestic violence injunction against him that required him to have no contact with her.

The complaint stated that she saw Petarius get out of his vehicle carrying a gun and a bag.

The ex-couple, who had been married from 1957 until March of this year, had been at the courthouse earlier that day on a contempt order, because Petarius had allegedly not been paying alimony money to the woman. A court commissioner ruled that he owed his ex-wife maintenance money or he would face jail time.

He allegedly told her to go inside, but when she refused, he grabbed her by the arm and forced her inside the residence, pushing her to ground in the process. According to the complaint, Petarius grabbed the woman and told her that he was in charge now.

Once inside, he allegedly called the couple's children and informed one of them that he planned to commit suicide. A police officer rapped at the door a few moments later and the ex-wife went to open the door over the objection of Petarius. The woman said the officer yelled for her to get out of the residence and then appeared to be shielding her from fire after shots were exchanged.

Court records showed he had a domestic abuse injunction issued against him in 2012 in which he was barred from any contact with the victim or having any firearms. He allegedly obtained the shotgun from his son-in-law's residence without his knowledge.

Petarius faces charges of attempted first degree intentional homicide, two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety, armed burglary, false imprisonment, intimidation of a victim, possession of a firearm contrary to injunction, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, attempted aggravated battery, and knowingly violating a domestic abuse injunction.

He now faces a combined maximum sentence of up to 165 years in prison.

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