LINCOLN COUNTY - A high-speed chase across county lines early Tuesday morning ended with one man shot dead and a small community rattled. It all started with a traffic stop in Antigo, shots at police, and a tense standoff near Merrill.
For Daniel Lemke, Tuesday morning started with more frightening action than he's ever seen.
"I heard the cops go east first, then come back, then the guy came down the road," said Lemke.
The Pine River man saw police lights from his house and heard shouting from the driveway right next door.
"The cops were yelling at him to show them his hands, then he took off again on them," said Lemke. "After that I didn't see him no more. The cops came and there was gunfire."
Just after 6:00a.m., an Antigo police officer pulled a driver over in town. Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller said the driver was pulled over because the plates on the car he was driving didn't come back to the right car. When pulled over, Roller said the driver shot at the officer two times. The driver then raced away on Highway 64 into Lincoln County.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office stopped the car with stop sticks just east of Merrill, but the man then got out with a gun and started an hour long standoff.
"We had some dialogue with him to try to surrender," said Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger. "Ultimately that failed, and unfortunately the individual was fatally injured by officers."
Sheriff Jaeger says while the officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, he thinks they made the right call to keep people safe.
"I'm certainly concerned with the traumatic effect it has on them," said Jaeger. "I think that's something that the public isn't always cognizant of, but it's a life changing event for them."
Neighbors in the area say it was a scary sight for their tight-knit community to hear gunshots and see police lights, but they're happy police could keep them safe.
"They did the job I thought very well," said Lemke. "They made sure my kids were in the house, and called my neighbors, and tried to secure everybody first. And they did their job."
The Department of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.