The entrance to the Ice Age Trail along County Road BB near Tisch Mills.
By Warren Bluhm
A statement from the woman Tyler Whitmire inexplicably attacked Aug. 21 reveals a few more details of what led up to the moment Whitmire charged with a knife at a sheriff’s deputy and was shot and killed.
The statement is among more than 329 pages of material released in .pdf format Tuesday after Kewaunee County District Attorney Andrew Naze announced his conclusion that the deputy’s action was justified and did not warrant criminal charges. The material is from the independent investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
Whitmire, 22, Luxemburg, was a decorated Marine with no criminal record, but his behavior radically changed that night after smoking marijuana with the woman while walking along the Ice Age Trail near Tisch Mills.
The 23-year-old woman – whose name and other information are redacted in the released statement – told two DCI special agents that Whitmire was a friend from Luxemburg-Casco High School but they were never involved romantically. She had not seen him in about three years and had not heard from him in about a year, when he sent a Facebook message from him Saturday, Aug. 19, suggesting they meet to catch up on old times.
She “described Whitmire as a sweet individual who used to stick up for her in high school when she would get bullied. (She) never would have guessed ‘in a million years’ that Whitmire was capable of the actions he displayed that evening,” the statement said.
Not long after they started smoking a marijuana “blunt” as they walked the trail, Whitmire “began acting strange,” she said, and he asked if they could turn around and start walking back. He told her he was scared and did not feel well.
She told the investigators her idea was to drive Whitmire to a fast-food restaurant in Luxemburg to get him some food, but the situation began to grow out of control once they were back in the car.
As they drove away from the trail entrance, Whitmire leaned over and pulled the steering wheel from her, causing the car to swerve into oncoming traffic. She pulled over and yelled at him, and he said he was “sorry for ‘freaking out.’”
But he continued to have trouble and “did not seem to be with it,” she said, and soon he grabbed the steering wheel a second time, again nearly striking oncoming vehicles, and she swerved and braked the car sharply on County Road AB south of Stangelville, where the fatal confrontation with police would take place.
After she stopped the car, Whitmire grabbed a mason hammer from the inside pocket of the passenger-side door, got out of the car and smashed the passenger-side windows of the sub-compact car, then the windshield.
Her dog jumped out of the car and into a nearby field, but before she could chase the dog, Whitmire started hitting her with the hammer, striking her head, forearms and left shoulder/back area.
He stopped when a man in a truck drove up and stopped to help, and Whitmire ran toward a house while she went after the dog. She said as she was running to get the animal, she “nearly passed out because she could feel warm blood running down from her head to her face.”
Officers arrived and the incident ended a few minutes later, when Whitmire charged Deputy Jordan Salentine with a knife he had grabbed from the house and was shot by Deputy Jamie Tlachac.
The interview with the woman took place at a Green Bay hospital. The case report indicates she was treated for various injuries, receiving two stitches for a laceration on the right side of her head and three stitches for a laceration on the left side of her head.
The woman told investigators the marijuana was not laced with any other substance as far as she knew, adding that she and other friends had smoked from that particular batch several times in the previous month with no unusual effects.
After receiving consent to search the car, officers retrieved about 1 gram of “suspected marijuana” and a grinder, two glass pipes, a prescription container with a handwritten label “Cranberry 25,200 MG with VitC Serv-2 caps” containing 10 unidentified pills, and a prescription container with a handwritten label “Cornstarch” containing an unknown white powder.
A field test on the suspected marijuana testeda positive for THC, the active ingredient, but a field test of the “cornstarch” was inconclusive for any presence of cocaine and/or heroin, according to the case report. The THC sample was sent to the Milwaukee Crime Lab, but the released investigative material does not include a report back from the lab. District Attorney Andrew Naze said Tuesday that toxicology reports from the investigation are still pending.