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Waukesha Police fired dozens of shots at elderly suspect before arrest

CREATED Oct 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct 24, 2012

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  • Image by Mike Lammi

  • Image by Abe Van Dyke

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WAUKESHA - Authorities say that a pair of Waukesha Police officers fired 26 shots at a 76-year-old domestic violence suspect during a standoff.  None of the bullets struck him.

Officers later arrested Dick Petarius, 76, at the end of the standoff. 

It happened near the intersection of E. Racine Ave. and Guthrie Road in Waukesha Tuesday evening.

Officers initially responded to a home in the Wynwood Condos following a domestic violence call by a 75-year-old woman.

When officers arrived, Waukesha police say the elderly man threatened officers.

"The suspect pointed a long gun at the officers and shot at the officers. The officers then returned fire," says Waukesha Police Department Chief Russell Jack.

Authorities arrested the elderly man, identified by witnesses as Petarius, after a nearly one-hour standoff.

"Both officers are doing physically fine," said Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack on Wednesday.

"One officer suffered a minor grazing head wound, possibly caused by the debris from the round fired from the suspect.  Both officers are currently recovering emotionally from this very traumatic incident."

The suspect is in custody, unharmed.  The man's 75-year-old ex-wife is being treated for her injuries.  She's expected to be OK.

Waukesha police say they have been called to the suspect's home before, and that a restraining order was issued against him back in 2010.

The scene in Waukesha is being perceived as being all too common, with reasons starting to sound familiar.

"This is a history of domestic related incidents," said Jack.

The woman's daughter called 911, and while the officers were talking to the ex-wife, Petarius apparently appeared with a shotgun.

Officers did not know he was inside the condominium.

Condo association president Sally Jensen said the couple had gone through a bitter divorce.

"Back in 2010, we were at a board meeting, and the police showed up and arrested him," explained Jensen.

Records showed that the couple was in court Tuesday dealing with their divorce.

Petarius had a history of community involvement.  He served as the director of clowns for Tripoli Shriners.