By Brandi Makuski and Jake Mathias
Following a standoff that involved several law enforcement agencies, a 55-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly shooting his wife.
The Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office confirms the suspect in the Bancroft shooting has been identified as Larry Sanchez. The victim was identified as Lisa Sanchez, his estranged wife. She was already deceased when deputies arrived on the scene. At press, an autopsy was pending.
Chief Deputy Dan Kontos said a caller on the 8300 block of Division Street in Bancroft contacted 911 shortly before 11 AM. The caller initially stated she believed her neighbor, Larry Sanchez, had collapsed due to a medical problem, but was unable to check on his welfare due to her physical disability. Bancroft-Pine Grove and Protage Co. EMS crews were dispatched to the scene to assist.
Immediately following the first call, a second call was placed to 911. That caller told dispatchers her niehgbor, Larry Sanchez, had just confessed to her that he’d shot his wife.
Family members confirmed the death by gunshot as law enforcement raced to the scene.
Larry Sanchez had barricaded himself inside his home following the shooting, which forced a standoff with law enforcement lasting just over three hours.
Law enforcement negotiators made sporadic contact with Larry Sanchez, but were unable to persuade Sanchez to surrender himself. Sheilded by the county’s armored vehicle, deputies used a public address system to order Larry Sanchez out of the home. Those demands went unanswered.
The Plover Police Department used its new drone- an unmanned aerial vehicle- to search the area and map the scene before the Portage Co. Special Response Team used a combination of pepper spray and tear gas to force Larry Sanchez out of the home. He was then taken into custody without further incident.
Police said they had reason to believe Larry Sanchez had access to several weapons including high-powered rifles, prompting the use of the county’s SWAT vehicle. Several neighboring homes and businesses were evacuated during the standoff.
Larry Sanchez is currently behind bars at the Portage Co. Jail. Formal homicide charges are pending.
Along with the sheriff’s office, the Stevens Point and Plover Police departments, Wisconsin State Patrol, Portage County EMS, and Bancroft-Pine Grove Fire and EMS departments all responded to the scene.
The Portage County Coroner’s Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab are assisting with the investigation.
“Our hostage negotiation team actually came in and were in contact with the individual,” said Sheriff Mike Lukas. “They did a great job, but it was law enforcement tactics that brought him out.”
Lukas added no injuries were sustained during the apprehension.
Police cordoned off much of the surrounding street and evacuated the neighborhood surrounding the crime scene. The Division St. scene will be closed until at least Thursday morning, Lukas said.