UPDATE: Officer Involved Death Investigation Near Fort Atkinson

Dec 16 2020

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is investigating an officer involved death (OID) near Fort Atkinson, Wis. that occurred on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 9, 2020.


At approximately 12:30 pm, Wisconsin State Patrol attempted a traffic stop for speeding on Highway 26 between Watertown and Johnson Creek. One driver and one passenger were inside the vehicle. The vehicle stopped for a short time, and the only passenger fled the vehicle, then the vehicle fled the scene. The passenger, Desmond Watkins, age 22, was later apprehended. Wisconsin State Patrol pursued the vehicle. While pursuing, the individual inside the car fired shots from the vehicle at law enforcement.


The vehicle continued southbound on Highway 26, road spikes were deployed, and the vehicle struck them. The vehicle exited Highway 26 at Highway 12 and came to a stop in the median. The driver exited the vehicle with a handgun and attempted to carjack a civilian. Three Wisconsin State Patrol Troopers then discharged their weapons and struck the subject.


Law enforcement began life-saving measures on the driver. However, the driver, Joseph R. Crawford, age 23, died of multiple gunshot wounds at the scene.


No law enforcement personnel or other involved individuals were injured during the incident.


The involved troopers from Wisconsin State Patrol has been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. The troopers are:


  • Trooper Keegan Williams, five years of law enforcement experience,
  • Trooper Alexander Polizzi, three years of law enforcement experience, and
  • Trooper David Heinisch, one year of law enforcement experience.


Additionally, after the incident in Fort Atkinson, the driver was identified to be a suspect in a bank robbery that occurred in Monona earlier that day. Wisconsin State Patrol Troopers were not aware of this when they attempted the traffic stop. The investigation of the bank robbery is being led by Monona Police Department and the FBI.


DCI is leading this investigation and are assisted by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, and the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services. All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.


DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Jefferson County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.


The investigation is ongoing and no further information is currently available. Further information will be released when it becomes available.


Please direct all media inquiries to Wisconsin DOJ.

Above, Trooper David Heinisch


Above, Trooper Keegan Williams

Above, Trooper Alexander Polizzi