The names of the man killed in an officer-involved shooting early Tuesday and the law enforcement officer involved were released Wednesday.
Patrol Lt. Chris Hoyt with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department shot 21-year-old Andrew L. Closson after the younger man pointed a rifle at the lieutenant, according to releases from Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec. Closson was transported to a Duluth hospital where he later died from his injuries.
“It’s obviously a tragic event, not just for Mr. Closson’s family but for Lt. Hoyt and his family, and the department in general,” Dalbec said Wednesday.
The sheriff said he has known Hoyt for years.
“He and I got sworn in together on the police department January of 1991,” Dalbec said.
Deputies were called to a domestic disturbance in Gordon early Tuesday morning. While en route, they were informed shots had been fired within the house. Three deputies arrived on the scene and tried to establish a perimeter around the house.
At the same time, the department’s SWAT team was being activated, Dalbec said. As deputies were attempting to set up the perimeter, Closson broke out a window at the rear of the house and left the area on foot.
Hoyt, who lives in Gordon, is the commander of the sheriff department’s SWAT team; he was at the Gordon Fire Hall getting a generator when he was informed there was someone walking along U.S. Highway 53.
“He just went to check to see who it was,” Dalbec said. “I mean it was cold, too. If there was a hitchhiker … it was 12 below that morning. Kind of a cold night to be walking anywhere, let alone along a highway.”
Hoyt located Closson walking along the highway about a mile away from the residence where shots had been fired.
The incident remains under investigation by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Superior Police Department.
Hoyt has been placed on administrative leave, standard procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.
“He’s actually doing well,” Dalbec said of Hoyt. “He and his family are taking a little time off and just trying to deal with it and try to get over it as best they can.”
How long the 21-year veteran of the department will be on leave is up to him, the sheriff said.
“His mental state and his health and wellbeing is paramount,” Dalbec said, “and when he feels he’s ready to come back to work we’ll make that accommodation, but at the same time if he’s not, we’re certainly going to help him and do what we can to help him through this.”
The last fatal law enforcement shooting incident in rural Douglas County was more than 10 years ago. Kenneth Fuller was shot by officers on Dec. 6, 2001, at the Manitou Inn in the Town of Superior when he charged officers while armed with a knife.
Hopefully, Dalbec said, the department never will have to go through another fatal shooting incident again “in my career or any other time, for that matter.”