La Crosse, WI – Police have released bodycam footage that captured the moment a wanted suspect shot a La Crosse police officer at point-blank range (video below).
The gunfight occurred at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 3, after La Crosse Police Officer Dustin Darling received a report of a domestic disturbance at his ex-wife's house at 317 South Ninth Street, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
The gunman, later identified as 34-year-old Allen Kruk, had a felony warrant for his arrest at the time of the incident, according to The Wisconsin State Journal.
Bodycam footage showed Officer Darling as he made contact with Kruk at the residence.
According to an investigation completed by the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (WDCI), Kruk immediately began to pull away when the officer grabbed onto his left arm, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The suspect then turned toward Officer Darling and raised the handgun he had gripped in his right hand, the video showed.
The gunman pointed the weapon at the officer, who immediately began backing away from his attacker.
Officer Darling was hit in the ballistic vest in chest area during the shootout that ensued, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
He also opened fire, wounding the suspect.
“I’m hit! I’m hit!” the officer said over the radio, as he sought cover on the back side of a nearby building, the video showed. “He’s inside – there are children in the house.”
Officer Darling later told investigators that he believed his life was in danger during the encounter, and that he was also concerned about the risk Kruk posed to additional officers arriving at the scene, the children inside the home, as well as for the safety of Kruk’s ex-wife, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Officer Darling was rushed to a local hospital, where he was treated and released for the injuries he suffered during the altercation, the La Crosse Police Department said in a press release.
“The La Crosse Police Department is happy to report that Officer Darling is doing well and healing up from the injury caused by the gun shot to his ballistic vest,” the department added.
Kruk was taken into custody, and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
La Crosse District Attorney Tim Grunke said that Krunk will be booked into the La Crosse County Jail as soon as he is released from the hospital, which could occur as early as this week.
On Tuesday, Grunke’s office announced that Officer Darling’s use of deadly force during the encounter was justified, and said that the six-year veteran-of-the-force acted in self-defense, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The district attorney also determined that Kruk presented an imminent danger of bodily harm or death to the officer and others at the time of the shooting.
Kruk has a history of recent arrests, including charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, illegally obtaining prescriptions, and possession of methamphetamine, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
On July 11, he was arrested for felony bail jumping and possession of methamphetamine, but was again released on bond.
The warrant for his arrest was issued on July 25, after Kruk failed to show up at court.
Officer Darling has been placed on administrative leave, as per department protocol, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.
You can watch bodycam footage of Officer Darling’s encounter with Kruk in the video below: