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Fitchburg homicide

Rewards are being offered for information leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Shay Watson, who was found dead around 9 p.m. Aug. 25 at 2742 Lyman Lane, Fitchburg.

The victim of what Fitchburg police are calling a homicide Sunday night has been identified by a family member as an incoming high school senior.

Shay Watson, 17, was found dead around 9 p.m. at 2742 Lyman Lane, according to Tim O’Neil, who said he was the victim’s step-grandfather. The residence near the intersection of Lacy and Fish Hatchery roads is one half of a duplex owned by O’Neil and his wife, and where the victim, his mother and his brother were living, he said.

Fitchburg homicide map

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Watson’s identity late Monday and said Watson died from “homicidal firearm related trauma.”

At a press conference earlier Monday, Fitchburg Police chief Chad Brecklin declined to say whether the police department had any suspects. He said the investigation is “open and quite active” and that a team of investigators is following up on leads.

“Honestly, there’s not a lot to release at this point in time,” Brecklin said.

Although the police department had not made any arrests as of late Monday afternoon, Brecklin said he believed there was no immediate threat to the community. He said the homicide does not appear to be a random act.

Fitchburg Police Chief Chad Brecklin at homicide press conference

The Aug. 25 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Shay Watson was not a random act, Fitchburg Police Chief Chad Brecklin said.

Police said officers responded to the home after a caller reported that a man was dead there. O’Neil said none of Watson’s family was at home at the time of his death.

Shay Watson played football for Verona Area High School last year. He was not on the roster for this year.

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In a letter to parents Monday, Verona High School Principal Pam Hammen notified parents that a student had died but did not identify the student or the circumstances of the student’s death.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the unfortunate news of the death of one of our Verona Area High School students which occurred over this past weekend,” Hammen wrote, adding that counselors are available at the school for students affected by the news.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the Middleton Police Department, the Verona Police Department and the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office are assisting in the investigation.

Brecklin said “a number of individuals” may have additional information and encouraged those people to come forward.

“I’m seeking additional leads,” Brecklin said.

Anyone with information regarding the homicide, including neighborhood home surveillance video from Sunday evening, is asked to contact the Fitchburg Police Department at 608-270-4300. Anonymous tips can be shared by calling the Fitchburg Police Tipster Line at 608-270-4321 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.


State Journal reporter Emily Hamer contributed to this report.

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