WATERTOWN, Wis. — A man who exchanged gunfire with police in Watertown in May took his own life, according to the Jefferson County district attorney who cleared the officer who fired his gun.
District Attorney Monica Hall said police stopped a car for a traffic violation in the parking lot of a gas station May 31. An officer asked all four occupants for their IDs. The officer thought the ID of a rear seat passenger was fake.
The 32-year-old man, Thomas Sutherlin, refused police commands to exit the vehicle. By then a second officer arrived on scene.
Sutherlin refused commands to show his hands and was tasered. Hall said in a report that Sutherlin then produced a handgun and fired it toward one of the officers who returned fire.
The occupants were ordered out of the vehicle, but Sutherlin did not emerge. Police found he had a gunshot wound to the head and starting life-saving measures. An autopsy showed the gunshot wound was self-inflicted, Hall said.