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The Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office has determined no criminal charges will be filed after officer Seely Moe shot Joshua Gomoll on the Trestle Trail bridge last May 23, saying the use of deadly force was justified. Christian Gossett’s conclusion follows an investigation of the shooting by the state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). Gossett says video from police officer’s body camera confirms Gomoll was armed with a knife and posed a threat to officers who responded to reports of a man making threats to people:
– At 2:48 p.m., a 911 call about a “really odd guy” throwing a fit, who kicked a mailbox over and was running at cars on W. Butte des Morts Beach Road
– At 2:56 p.m., a 911 call about a man with a “pretty big knife, and he was threatening everyone in the area.” He tapped on a car window and scared the woman driving with a toddler in the back of the car.
– A man working on a job site near Highway 10 and Butte des Morts Beach Road said a man kicked over a construction cone, turned on him with a knife in his hand, and said, “You think it’s a (expletive) game. I’m going to (expletive) kill you.” The man then tapped on a car window above where a toddler was sitting, the witness said.
– A witness says at about 3 p.m., a man hit her passenger-side car door and quarter panel.
– At 3:02 p.m., a 911 caller said a guy jogging and talking to himself pointed a knife at them and said, “What are you looking at?” and then started running at them.
When police arrived, Officer Seely Moe, who’s described by the D.A. as a 15-year veteran of the Fox Crossing Police Department, radioed there was a man with a knife on the Trestle Trail Bridge and people were running away from him. On Officer Moe’s body camera video, Gomoll is heard making shrill, yelling noises, “noises such as ‘woo hoo,'” the report says. Moe ordered Gomoll to get on the ground. The D.A.’s report says Gomoll is heard saying “Nope” and “Come on, do it.” When the officer warns Gomoll he’ll be shot, “Gomoll took about five steps towards Officer Moe… with his right hand extended, and the knife was pointed at Officer Moe.” Moe fired three shots, and Gomoll fell about 18 feet from the officer. He attempted to get up, and Moe fired another shot. Gomoll is heard saying, “I’m dead.” Another officer who was running towards the bridge at the time pulled out his Taser stun gun but didn’t have a sight on Gomoll in time to use it before Gomoll stepped towards Moe.
In effort to get the knife away from Gomoll, officers used a Taser on him. Police and paramedics began rendering aid once they were sure Gomoll wasn’t posing a threat, but he died there. An autopsy found Gomoll died from four gunshot wounds — two to the chest and two to the abdomen. In reports from DCI, investigators interviewed Gomoll’s girlfriend. She said he had been a heroin addict but was clean for several years. His behavior changed in the month before he died; his work was affected and he stopped contributing to paying bills. Two weeks before he died, his behavior became more erratic and he took up running, and was running up to 12 miles a day, and was using marijuana to calm down.
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