Man Who Shot, Critically Wounded Teen, Speaks Out

By KBJR News 1

November 24, 2010 Updated Nov 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM CDT

HAYWARD, WI (The Northland's NewsCenter) -- Early Tuesday morning, Countryside Bar owner Bill Campbell feared for his life.

The Twin Lakes, WI resident had awoken on two separate occasions to loud noises earlier that night. This time, Campbell says, he decided to investigate.

"Grabbed my mag-lite and my pistol and I walked down the stairs," Campbell said, describing how he confronted the two thieves he says had vandalized his bar and who he caught stealing about $1,500 worth of liquor.

Campbell said he warned both thieves "not to move," and told the closest one to get down "on his belly, on the floor."

What happened next Campbell says was a blur. One of the young men --- who he suspects was high on some type of drugs -- came at him with a full bottle of liquor raised to strike.

"It looked like he was going to hit me with a liter bottle," Campbell said. "He raised his hand... and instinctively I pulled the trigger."

"Campbell, who is a former Marine Captain and veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam, says he shot the two teens because he felt he had no other choice.

According to Sawyer County Sheriff's Deputies, one teen was shot in the neck and hand. Deputies say another teen was shot in the groin and the foot.

Campbell says he used a long-barreled .357 pistol which he says was confiscated by the authorities.

Both teens remained in Duluth hospitals on Wednesday. One was listed in critical condition.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sawyer County Chief Deputy Brigette Kornbroke said her department was still investigating the case and no charges had been filed against the teens or against Campbell -- as of yet.

"He was very straightforward," Kornbroke said, describing Campbell's cooperation with sheriff's deputies. "He told us that there were two people that had entered his business, and that he was confronted by both of them and ended up shooting them."

When asked if she though the self defense measures used against the teens were excessive, Kornbroke indicated she did not, and offered an explanation:

"...a lot of times you shoot and you shoot twice. That could be why there's an ankle shot and a groin shot. You know it's the whole recoil thing. So, I don't think it was excessive."

Campbell's next-door neighbor Dianne Januesheski agrees.

Januesheski says in the last 24 hours, the community has rallied in support of Campbell, who she says has suffered multiple break-ins in the last few years.

"...they're all to be perfectly honest, very sympathetic of Bill," Januesheski said. "They're just hoping it's not going to come back on him. It' not going to cause him any problems."

Just a few houses down, Lisa Wade has mixed feelings. Wade has lived across the street from Campbell's bar for three years. She says it was one of her cousins who was shot.

"I'm not saying -- you know -- that he had the right to actually shoot them, but he does have the right to protect his property," Wade said. "He does have the right to protect his own."

However, it's a question of how much protection is "too much" that may ultimately come back to haunt Bill Campbell if Sawyer County authorities do decide to charge him.

"The use of deadly force is justified if there's an immanent threat of great bodily harm or death," Sawyer County Chief Deputy Brigette Kornbroke told the Northland's NewsCenter.

"It's the same for law enforcement and for civilians."

Kornbroke said that means Sawyer County District Attorney Thomas Van Roy will have to weigh the evidence obtained by sheriff's deputies before filing any possible charges against Campbell.

"We're still investigating, and we've still got interviews set up into this week," Kornbroke said.

Meanwhile, bar owner Bill Campbell had reopened his doors as of Wednesday afternoon. Campbell said he now fears violent retaliation by local Lac Courtes Oreilles Reservation gangs for the shooting, but knows what he did was right.

"They weren't nice guys," Bill Campbell said, describing the teens, who he says he personally knows. "And they didn't listen to me telling them what to do and what not to do."

Written for the web by Matt Standal