The Racine County District Attorney’s Office will not file charges against the two Racine Police officers who shot Donte Shannon to death on Jan. 17.
Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson found there was “no basis to prosecute the law enforcement officers involved,” after the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation issued its report.
Shannon, 26, fled on foot following a traffic stop and brandished a gun in the 1400 block of Park Avenue, according to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The two officers — Chad Stillman and Peter Boeck — were part of the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Gang Task Force run by the FBI. Assigned to investigate gang-related incidents within Racine, they were targeting known gang members and violent felons.
Officials with the City of Racine issued the following statement:
“The traffic stop initiated in this case was directly connected to the investigative work performed by FBI Gang Task Force members. Such work is performed to enhance the safety and security of the broader community. As affirmed within the external investigative report compiled by State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigation personnel, the use of force in this case was precipitated by the threat of deadly force being used against officers. Initial reports that no firearm was located in connection with this incident were erroneous. All facts in this case will now be made known to the public.”
Read the DOJ report.
821-page report details officer-involved shooting
The Task Force operates out of an offsite building. Stillman and Boeck were “conducting proactive activities” and had learned at 2:55 p.m. on Jan. 17 that Shannon had a gun that belonged to his father, Nakia Shannon, and that he had an “unknown amount of marijuana in his possession.” Donte, a convicted felon who was on probation, had a GPS bracelet on his ankle. They also knew he did not have a driver’s license and the car he drove belonged to Nakia and did not have a front license plate.
At 3:29 p.m., Boeck called their supervisor to tell them “they had received information regarding a man with a firearm,” that the knew what car he was driving and it was parked in a driveway, according to the DOJ report.
The supervisor — who was in an unmarked car that did not have emergency lights — assisted in the surveillance. He confirmed that Shannon was the same person as a booking photo they had. Shannon walked outside into the middle of the street as if he were looking for someone. Then he ran back to his car and the supervisor started to follow him in his car.
Boeck and Stillman also started to follow Donte in their RAPD squad. When they activated their emergency lights, Donte stopped and exited the car in the driveway of 515 14th St. Running from Stillman and Boeck, Donte crossed the street and continued running southbound. Stillman and Boeck ordered him to stop running. But he refused and they chased him into the yard of 1409 Park Avenue. Meanwhile, the supervisor went to set up a perimeter to keep Donte from running further east.
Cornered, Donte pointed a black 9 mm handgun at Stillman and Boeck, which “caused them to fear for each other’s lives and their own so they fired their weapons at Shannon in an attempt to stop the threat,” the DOJ report reads.
The two officers continued to order Donte to drop the gun and show his hands, but he refused.
“Stillman and Boeck reported that Shannon kept sitting up and pointing his gun at them which caused them to continue firing at Shannon,” the report reads.
Unaware of how man shots they had fired, Stillman and Boeck told investigators with the Department of Justice “they continued to fire until the threat stopped.”
After the shooting, Stillman called for an ambulance and another officer on scene rendered first aid to Donte by giving him CPR until rescue personnel arrived. He died in the ambulance.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Donte “suffered a total of 10 gunshots to his body” and he had 11.7 grams of marijuana on him at the time of his death.
City officials respond to DA’s decision
Racine Mayor Cory Mason said the goal of the city is that “the loss of life is never the desired outcome,” according to a press release.
“In this case, the use of lethal force was justified. Sadly, a family is missing someone who did not come home. This incident should serve as a somber reminder to our community of both the dangers and consequences faced by law enforcement officers and citizens when firearms are introduced into the instant decision-making of a threatening encounter. We are thankful that our RPD officers returned home to their families alive and physically unharmed.”
Racine Police Chief Art Howell thanked those who responded to the incident in a peaceful manner, including the pastors and community members.
“We are grateful for your support and demonstrated leadership. Most notably, I would like to acknowledge and thank the men and women of the Racine Police Department who continued to serve with honor and dignity while protecting the constitutional rights of all citizens in the process,” he said.
When asked if Boeck and Stillman could return to full duty, Howell said additional information would be released when it becomes available.