Man accused of shooting at police ordered held on $50K cash

Editor’s note: News articles about bond hearings are just that—an article about a hearing. At the time of a bond hearing, charges have typically not yet been filed. A bond hearing determines a defendant’s risk of flight or danger to the community. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until pronounced guilty in a court of law. The Metro Wire will follow each case to its conclusion, including reporting if charges were amended or dismissed. The Metro Wire does not remove verified stories from its website.

By Brandi Makuski

A Chippewa Co. man is being held on a $50,000 cash bond following a shooting on the city’s north side last week.

Nicholas Meyer, 40, appeared for a bond hearing by video from the Portage Co. Jail on April 10 before Branch III Judge Patricia Baker. Meyer was represented for the hearing by attorney Max Bergner from the state public defender’s office. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Cass Cousins.

Cousins said on April 7, shortly after 3 a.m., Stevens Point police responded to Second St. and Bukolt Ave. when a caller reported a suspicious person in the area. Upon arrival, officers observed the suspect, later identified as Meyer, “carrying what appeared to be a rifle case walking into a garage, through the service door.”

Officers called out to the man, asking him to step out of the garage as they took strategic positions outside the entrance. After a short time, Meyer appeared in the doorway and “fired several gunshots towards the officers; no officers were hit,” Cousins said, adding that a bullet hole matching the trajectory from that location was found in a residential structure behind the officers and across the street.

“Law enforcement returned fire with multiple shots, hitting this person once; he retreated again into the garage, and after some conversation he did surrender to law enforcement,” Cousins said on Monday.

Meyer was transported to a medical facility in Wausau for treatment of one gunshot wound and was released into police custody over the weekend, Cousins said.

During questioning, Meyer told police that “two or three people wearing police uniforms” approached him on the morning of April 7, but he did not believe they were actually law enforcement officers. He said the officers were trying to communicate with him, but that he couldn’t understand them, and their words were “garbled,” Cousins read from the incident report.

Meyer then reportedly barricaded himself in the garage and loaded a .38 caliber revolver and began “firing rounds towards two officers,” Cousins said. “He stated that the officers did not point their weapons at him until he had fired first, and then they returned fire.”

Meyer told investigators he was “acting in self defense, and he stated that he believed it was ‘kill or be killed,'” Cousins said.

Cousins requested that Meyer be held on a $50,000 cash bond, with conditions that Meyer not possess any firearms, that he not attempt to purchase any firearms, that he surrender any firearms he currently owns that haven’t already been seized by law enforcement, and that he present himself to JusticePoint for an assessment.

Cousins said while Meyer has a limited criminal history with only one conviction for a misdemeanor in 2004, but because of the seriousness of the charge(s) he now faces, there’s “an inherent risk of non-appearance.”

Cousins added that his office hasn’t made a final decision on how Meyer would be charged, but he believes there’s enough evidence to charge attempted first-degree attempted homicide. According to the Portage Co. jail log, Meyer was booked on an initial felony charge of murder/nonnegligent manslaughter.

Bergner argued for a $5,000 cash bond, saying his client had lived in the area for about 18 months, was a veteran of the United States Army, and was living with family in the area.

Baker said the case gave her “considerable pause and concern” because Meyer allegedly fired a gun at law enforcement, and in a well-populated residential neighborhood.

“This is exceptionably dangerous behavior, really unthinkable behavior, that would take place in the middle of the night in the center of our city,” Baker said, adding that Cousins’ bail request was “right on the mark for me.”

Meyer returns to court for an initial appearance on April 17.

Because it’s an officer-involved shooting, the investigation has been turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI). It wasn’t immediately clear how many officers were involved, but the DCI said in a Friday press release that the “officers” involved would be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the external investigation.

Stevens Point, UW-Stevens Point, and Plover police departments, an ambulance from the Stevens Point Fire Department, as well as the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, all responded to the scene. The SPPD’s MRAP, an armored vehicle commonly used during armed responses to protect officers and responding medics, was also called to the scene.

According to the DOJ’s website, it can take several days to debrief and interview the officers involved following any shooting incident. The DCI has 30 days to get its report to the DA’s office, and from there, it will be up to Cousins to determine if any charges against the officers should be filed.

Any officers involved in a shooting are typically placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, the DOJ’s website said.