Authorities release names of deputy, dead suspect in Sparta shooting
Authorities released late afternoon Thursday, Jan. 11, the names of the suspect and the deputy involved in a fatal officer-involved shooting in Sparta Sunday, Jan. 7.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which is leading the investigation, identified the dead suspect as 21-year-old Skyler D. Burnette of Sparta. Burnette was on active supervision at the time of the incident.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy is identified as Jesse Murphy, who was hired by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in 2006. Prior to working for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Murphy was employed as a limited term employee by the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office Park Patrol.
Murphy has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of this investigation, per the sheriff’s department policy.
The Sparta Police officers who were present at the scene are identified as Sgt. Booker T. Ferguson, Officer Marc Nelson and Officer Chris Welker.
The four law enforcement officers responded to a domestic violence-related 911 call at 1005 St. Anne St., Apt. 10 at around 10 a.m. According to a DOJ press release, they encountered Burnette threatening the life of a female with a knife. Murphy fired at Burnette, killing him.
Other agencies involved in the investigation are the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Monroe County Medical Examiner. The DOJ indicated the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Sparta Police Department are fully cooperating in the investigation.
DCI said it is continuing to collect evidence and will turn over investigative reports to the Monroe County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.
This is the third officer involved shooting in Sparta since 2012. The other two involved Sgt. Ferguson who was found to be justified in both instances.
In January 2012, Ferguson wounded Jacob Olsen, who at the time was 22 years old. Olsen was pointing a loaded rifle at Ferguson and refused commands to drop the weapon before Ferguson shot him.
In October 2013, Ferguson fatally shot 21-year old John Bartholomew outside Bartholomew’s parents’ home, where the suspect came at him with a knife. Ferguson had responded to a 911 call from Bartholomew’s parents.