NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) - Trial starts on Monday for a man accused of causing a standoff in Neenah in 2015 that lead to the death of one of his hostages. Local 5's Kris Schuller has more on the accused Brian Flatoff and the deadly standoff at Eagle Nation Cycles.
In December in 2015 - an armed Brian Flatoff barged into Eagle Nation Cycles demanding to see a man over a motorcycle he once owned. Holding hostages, police responded and hostage Michael Funk was shot and killed by Neenah police while trying to escape.
“He came out with a weapon in his hand and did not respond to the officer’s call to drop the weapon,” said Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson.
It was a tragic incident investigated by the state which was determined to be a justified shooting, because Funk didn't follow police commands.
“The only person involved who set on that day to commit violent acts was Flatoff,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Flatoff stands charged with felony murder for the death of Michael Funk.”
Monday a two-week trial is expected to get underway in Winnebago County to decide over a dozen counts 48-year-old Flatoff faces from that day. They include attempted homicide for firing at police and felony murder, for starting the sequence of events that led to Funk's death. A man whose family and friends often gather inside Eagle Nation Cycles to celebrate his life.
“It's very emotional situation for everybody here. It is hard to live with, we really miss him. He was a great guy,” said Steven Erato, owner of Eagle Nation Cycles.
Flatoff will represent himself at trial after dismissing 10 prior court-appointed lawyers. If convicted of all charges Flatoff faces a possible 300 years in prison.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Funk's widow against the city of Neenah was dismissed.
Since our story aired Chief Wilkinson pointed out, that the police shooting was justified because Funk was reasonably, but inaccurately, perceived to be a deadly threat. He was not given commands, nor failed to follow them.
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