By Shereen Siewert
After a six-month investigation, a 25-year-old Gleason man is accused of trying to shoot and kill a Marathon County Sheriff’s deputy after a high speed chase near Wausau.
Social media messages suggest the suspect, Zachary D. Schwartz, was intentionally trying to provoke the shooting and was planning “suicide by cop,” according to the criminal complaint.
Police and prosecutors say Schwartz on Aug. 13 fired several shots at Marathon County Sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Olig following a chase with speeds in excess of 100 mph. The chase began at about 10 p.m. and began in Lincoln County.
According to the criminal complaint, obtained by Wausau Pilot & Review, the suspect fled from officers and evaded capture by Lincoln County deputies at the intersection of Hwy. WW and Del Rio Road after a deputy’s squad car struck tire deflation devices intended for Schwartz.
Olig spotted Schwartz’s Pontiac G6 at a used car dealership in the village of Maine a short time later, the complaint states, and approached Schwartz when the suspect opened the driver’s door, pointed a handgun at Olig and fired. A woman inside the vehicle crawled out of the front of the vehicle to escape. Both the woman and Schwartz were shot during the exchange, investigators said.
Schwartz was shot three times – once in the head, once in the torso and once in the leg, according to the complaint. He and the woman were transported to a local hospital for treatment and both survived.
In Facebook messages obtained by police that were exchanged two months after the shooting, Schwartz allegedly told a friend he “just shot a gun to get him to kill me” and said “I instilled fear in the cop to get him to shoot me, suicide by cop.”
Police seized two handguns at the scene allegedly belonging to Schwartz, who is prohibited from owning firearms due to prior felony convictions. Investigators also discovered drugs and paraphernalia inside the vehicle, all of which were sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory-Wausau for analysis.
Schwartz now faces charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of cocaine and additional related charges. Charges were filed Feb. 10 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
During an initial appearance, a judge ordered a $500,000 cash bond for Schwartz, who is incarcerated at Stanley Correctional Institution. Court records show Schwartz was on extended supervision at the time of the shooting and has since been returned to prison.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) investigated the shooting and was assisted by the Wausau Police Department, Wausau Fire & EMS, and Wisconsin State Patrol.
Future court dates have not yet been set.