Armed man seeking Gov. Evers arrested at Wisconsin Capitol, then returns with assault rifle

Tony Evers

A man illegally brought a loaded handgun into the Wisconsin Capitol, demanding to see Gov. Tony Evers, and returned at night with an assault rifle after posting bail, police said Thursday.

The man, who was shirtless and had a holstered handgun, approached the governor's office on the first floor of the Capitol around 2 p.m. Wednesday, state Department of Administration spokesperson Tatyana Warrick said. The 43-year-old man said “he would not leave until he saw Governor Evers” so he could talk about “domestic abuse towards men,” Capitol police said in a bulletin sent to lawmakers and their staffs.

Evers was not in the building at the time, Warrick said.

A Capitol police officer sits at a desk outside of a suite of rooms that includes the governor's office, conference room and offices for the attorney general.

The man was taken into custody for openly carrying a firearm in the Capitol, which is against the law, Warrick said. Weapons can be brought into the Capitol if they are concealed and the person has a valid permit. The man arrested did not have a concealed carry permit, Warrick said.

The man was booked into the Dane County Jail but later posted bail.

He returned to the outside of the Capitol shortly before 9 p.m., three hours after the building closed, with a loaded assault-style rifle and a collapsible police baton in his backpack, Warrick said. He again demanded to see the governor and was taken into custody.

The man said “he did not own a vehicle and it is likely he has access to a large amount of weapons and is comfortable using them,” police said in the bulletin sent to Capitol workers.

Capitol police named the suspect, but court records show that no charges have been filed as of midday Thursday. The Associated Press normally does not name suspects until they are charged and efforts are made to get comments from them, their lawyer or other representative.

Madison police reported Thursday that the man was taken into protective custody and taken to the hospital. A spokesperson for the police department did not return an email seeking additional details.

“Capitol Police took control of the situation and so it’s over,” Evers told reporters Thursday.

He declined to comment on what security changes may be enacted for him or the Capitol building.

“I never, ever talk about what my security detail does or what they’re planning on doing,” Evers said. “But anytime something like this happens, obviously they reevaluate.”

The incident is just the latest in a series of violent threats against public officials.

Evers, a Democrat, was on a hit list of a gunman suspected of fatally shooting a retired county judge at his Wisconsin home in 2022. Others on that list included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Whitmer was the target of a kidnapping plot in 2020.

Warrick said no immediate changes to security in the Capitol or for the governor were planned. The public has free access to the Capitol daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are no metal detectors.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us