Fond du Lac County Deputy Assisted Victim At Fox River Mall Shooting

On January 31st, law enforcement from numerous agencies descended upon the Fox River Mall in Grand Chute after reports of a shooting with multiple victims.  Included in that response was Blaine Evans, an off-duty Fond du Lac County sheriff’s deputy, who sprang into action when he learned of the shooting.  Deputy Evans was in Grand Chute to celebrate the birthday of a relative at a local restaurant, and after the meal they stopped at Scheels All Sports to look at ice fishing gear. 

While inside Scheels, they started to see people running through the store and learned there had been shots fired in the adjacent mall food court.  He and his family had not heard the shots, but word of the nearby shooting spread quickly and all customers were escorted to a secure room to remain safe.  Deputy Evans separated from his family, identified himself as an off-duty deputy to a store manager, and was escorted to the video surveillance room to look at camera feeds in an attempt to locate the shooter. 

While reviewing the various video feeds, they identified a victim of the shooting laying on the outdoor sidewalk near the Scheels main entrance.  The manager allowed deputy Evans to exit the store and he immediately responded to the victim’s location and began administering first aid.  The victim had suffered a gunshot wound to his hip, and deputy Evans obtained a sterile feminine pad from a passing female who was fleeing the area.  He used the pad to apply pressure to the gunshot wound and stop the bleeding.  As he treated the victim, deputy Evans continued to scan the area, not knowing where the shooter was. 

While doing so, he noticed a male roughly matching the description of the shooter approaching them with his hands in his pockets.  After repeated commands to take his hands out of his pockets, but refusing to do so, deputy Evans was forced to stop treating the injured victim and transition to a protective mode, drawing his concealed firearm and identifying himself as law enforcement.  Thankfully, the man finally began to comply with orders to remove his hands from his pockets, and it was later determined he was not the shooting suspect, but rather an acquaintance of the victim laying on the ground.  Deputy Evans resumed treatment of the victim and obtained more information about the shooter and what had taken place. 

As on-duty law enforcement started to arrive, deputy Evans was able to provide information about the suspect to them and volunteered to remain with the victim so law enforcement could continue the search for the suspect and other injured victims.  An ambulance arrived and removed the victim, and deputy Evans rode along to provide security until they were out of the danger zone.  Eventually an on-duty officer replaced deputy Evans in the ambulance, information was exchanged, and he was able to rejoin his family later that evening.

“It’s important that members of the Fond du Lac community know the caliber of law enforcement deputies that protect our community here every day.  I’m honored to work alongside these deputies, who not only risk their personal safety protecting the citizens of our own county while on-duty, but who also jump into action to protect innocent citizens from danger in other communities, even while off-duty.” said Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt.  “Tragically, one life was lost in the shooting that evening.  However, the heroic actions of deputy Blaine Evans not only helped save a victim who sustained a gunshot wound during the shooting, but he was also able to gather preliminary information about the shooter and provide it to the initial responding officers.” 

Sheriff Waldschmidt spoke to deputy Evans later that night about the experience, and deputy Evans so humbly reminded him, “We train for this.  Any one of us in the same situation would have done the same thing.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time tonight.”   

Deputy Blaine Evans has been with the Sheriff’s Office since June of 2018. In addition to his patrol deputy responsibilities, he is also a member of the SWAT Team with additional tactical and traumatic injury treatment training he was able to draw upon in treating the victim. Further details of this incident cannot be released because of the ongoing criminal investigation and pending charges, and information provided in this release was done so with the review and consent of Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson, whose agency is leading the investigation.