Update: Ashland County Officer Involved Death Investigation
Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), at the request of the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, has been investigating an officer involved death (OID) that took place on November 8, 2017 in Odanah, Wis., which is located on the Bad River Reservation.
The Ashland County Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call reporting a male subject walking on Maple Street carrying a knife. Ashland County Sheriff’s Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich responded to the scene and encountered a 5’9”, 300 pound male subject who fit the description given by the 911 caller. The subject was later identified as 14-year-old Jason Ike Pero. Pero approached Deputy Mrdjenovich with a large butcher knife and he refused numerous commands to drop the weapon. On two occasions, Pero lunged at the deputy while the deputy was attempting to retreat. Deputy Mrdjenovich fired his service weapon at Pero, striking him twice. Life-saving measures were initiated however, Pero was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland. DCI has determined Jason Pero was the same person that called 911 reporting a man with a knife, giving his own physical description. Initial information indicates that Pero had been despondent over the few days leading up to the incident and evidence from a search warrant executed on Pero’s bedroom supports that information.
Deputy Mrdjenovich has been interviewed by DOJ and is on paid administrative leave in accordance with Ashland County Sheriff’s Office’s policy. Deputy Mrdjenovich has worked for the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office for approximately one year.
The family members of Jason Pero have been offered victim witness services by the Ashland County Victim Witness Coordinator, along with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe Victim Witness Specialist.
The Ashland County District Attorney’s office will receive the written reports following the conclusion of the investigation. DCI aims to turn over all OID investigative reports to the prosecutor within 30 days of the incident.
The Wisconsin DOJ-led investigation of this incident has been a collaborative effort between DCI, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory. The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office has been fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.
No additional details are available at this time.