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DOJ: Deputy was justified in Forest County shooting

in Sirens

CRANDON —A Forest County deputy was justified in his actions when he fatally shot a 31-year-old man Jan. 4, according to a news release issued Friday.

Deputy Craig A. Justice, a 21-year veteran of the Forest County Sheriff’s Department, was on patrol when he responded to a report of a disabled motorist in a remote area near Mole Lake. As a matter of routine, Justice ran a record check on the driver, identified as 31-year-old Brandon O. Cude, and learned Cude was wanted in Texas on child sex assault charges.

The warrant contained a “violent tendencies” notice, according to recorded communications between the deputy and the dispatcher. Recordings, photos, and body cam footage were released to the media on Friday.

When Cude realized the deputy learned about the two outstanding warrants, he pointed a shotgun at Justice, who fired on Cude in response, according to police. Cude died at the scene despite lifesaving efforts by Justice and other responders, police said.

Forest County District Attorney Charles Simono declared on Friday that Justice’s use of deadly force in this situation was justified and that he bears no criminal liability in connection with the shooting.

The Jan. 4 incident was second officer involved shooting in less than three months in Forest County. On Oct. 22, Officer Ryan Wilson of the Crandon Police Department fatally shot Dexter Baxter during a theft investigation and related traffic stop. Investigators later determined Wilson acted appropriately when the shooting took place.

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