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QUADREN WILSON SHOOTING | SEARCH WARRANTS

Search warrants: Agents at scene of Quadren Wilson shooting thought he had fired first

From the Complete coverage of the Quadren Wilson case series

State agents who sought in February to arrest Quadren Wilson, shooting him multiple times even though he was unarmed, said they initially believed they heard gunshots coming from the vehicle Wilson was driving before they opened fire, according to court documents ordered unsealed last week.

The three search warrants unsealed in Dane County Circuit Court are the first official records having to do with the shooting of Wilson by state Division of Criminal Investigation agents to be made available to the public, and provide new insight into what the state agents believed had happened on Feb. 3.

But the most recent of the three warrants to be unsealed confirms what the Dane County Sheriff’s Office has previously reported: That no firearms were found in the borrowed 2016 Hyundai Tucson that Wilson was driving on American Parkway, on Madison’s Far East Side, when DCI agents moved in to arrest him as part of a drug investigation.

The warrants do not explain why agents thought they heard gunshots.

A Madison traffic engineering camera captures the moments after Quadren Wilson was arrested by officers with the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation. Wilson's family says he was shot five times in the back. Authorities have not yet said who shot Wilson.

The three warrants were filed under seal in February and re-sealed twice while an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office into the shooting continued. An affidavit to support sealing the warrants, written by Dane County Sheriff’s Detective William Hendrickson, notes that statements attributed to Wilson and members of his family in a media account “in regard to its accuracy is questionable in the opinion of your complainant.”

Quadren Wilson

Wilson 

Wilson’s family has said he was shot five times in the back and were the first to report he had been unarmed that morning. Family members also said Wilson was wearing an ankle monitor at the time and was due to meet with his probation officer the next day.

Wilson was jailed after he was treated at UW Hospital for his wounds but had to return to the hospital to be treated for an infection.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is reviewing the matter to determine whether any of the agents involved will face criminal liability. He said Wednesday that he is still waiting for some follow-up investigation he had requested.

Little information about the investigation has been released by the Sheriff’s Office, other than to identify the DCI agents who shot firearms during the incident as Mark Wagner and Nathan Peskie, and to note that Wilson was not armed.

“It confirms that Mr. Wilson did not have a weapon, nor does it state Mr. Wilson was engaging in any resistive or violent behavior that would have allowed the officers to engage in deadly force,” Wilson’s attorney, Stephen Eisenberg, said Wednesday. “It still doesn’t explain why they needed 27 cops to arrest a guy who was going to his probation agent the next day. I’ll still never understand it.”

Wilson has said he had his hands up when he was shot, Eisenberg said.

‘Possibly being fired upon’

The initial warrant, filed on Feb. 5, states that DCI Special Agent Mike Mansavage, who was part of the group looking for Wilson, said, according to Hendrickson, “it appeared as though a fellow agent, equipped with a ballistic shield was possibly being fired upon from the Wilson vehicle as the agent was backing away towards a median when a second agent, armed with a rifle engaged Wilson who was within the vehicle at the time.”

Hendrickson, who examined the ballistic shield, wrote that it “did show areas of damage which may have been from projectile contact,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

Eisenberg said it’s possible that, given the number of shots fired by the agents, the damage to the ballistics shield was from a ricochet, not from any shots initially thought to have been fired from the car Wilson was driving.

The most recent of the search warrants, filed on Feb. 19, states that during the processing of the car, “it became readily apparent that projectiles or possible fragments from fired projectiles may be within the upholstered parts” of the car, and some holes in metal and non-metal surfaces on the outside of the car appeared to be from “a projectile or bullet.”

The three search warrants were ordered unsealed on Thursday, but it was not clear when they became available for viewing on public computers at the Dane County Clerk of Courts Office. Short delays in making search warrants with expired seals available are common.

Two of the warrants sought to examine cellphones found in the vehicle Wilson was driving and one sought records from a vehicle window tinting business, attempting to determine the degree to which the vehicle’s side windows were darkened.

Police smashed out all of the vehicle’s side windows after stopping Wilson.

The search warrant for one of the phones references an earlier warrant issued to search the Hyundai Tucson, but that search warrant has not been made public.

The earliest of the three warrants, signed by a judge on Feb. 5, states that on Feb. 3, at about 8:19 a.m., a “multi-jurisdictional group” of law enforcement officers that included Madison police, the state Department of Justice and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency were trying to locate Wilson as part of a crack cocaine and fentanyl delivery investigation. Wilson, who was on state Department of Corrections supervision at the time, was also wanted on a DOC warrant, the search warrant documents state.

Madison police have said none of its officers saw the shooting and were on the “outer perimeter” of the incident.

‘Multiple gunshots’

DCI Special Agent Scott Leck told Hendrickson he stopped at a red light on Eastpark Boulevard at American Parkway, and Wilson stopped behind him, the search warrants state. When Leck stopped, “an arrest team approached Wilson’s vehicle from behind while announcing presence and while dressed in police-related identifiers and equipment.”

A cloud of smoke could be seen coming from the Tucson’s tires as Wilson tried to accelerate and push Leck’s vehicle to escape, the warrants state.

“Leck advised that upon contact with the arrest team, multiple gunshots were heard coming from the vicinity of Wilson’s vehicle,” Hendrickson wrote.

Spotted inside the Tucson by officers were two cellphones and a dark-colored cylindrical object partially protruding from under the passenger seat. That object was ultimately found not to be anything firearms-related.

Once the Tucson was searched, agents also found 46 grams of crack cocaine, 23 grams of fentanyl, a scale and $1,856 in cash.

Wilson was charged on Feb. 18 with delivery of fentanyl for a drug delivery in April 2021 that prosecutors said was related to the overdose death of a man inside the bathroom of a McDonald’s restaurant. Wilson pleaded guilty to that charge in May, along with a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge. He was sentenced to three years in prison as part of a plea agreement.


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