Armed Man Attempts to Confront Wisconsin Governor Twice at State Capitol


An armed individual, seeking an audience with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, was apprehended at the state capitol, released on bail, and subsequently re-apprehended in a troubling sequence of events.

The shirtless man, visibly carrying a holstered handgun, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon for unlawfully carrying a firearm within the premises.

Following his initial arrest, he secured his release on bail only to return later that evening brandishing an assault-style rifle.

Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, was not present in his capitol office at the time, as confirmed by a state official. The governor's office, however, declined to provide a statement, stating, "we do not comment on specific security threats or the governor's security detail," in response to inquiries from the BBC.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Evers had been at the Capitol, meeting with individuals testifying against a series of bills. He reassured reporters at an event in Oregon on Thursday, saying, "I'm OK."

He commended the capitol police for taking control of the situation, but expressed his concern, stating, "it's always something you don't want to see happen."

When asked about security measures, he remained tight-lipped, stating, "I never, ever talk about what my security detail does or what they're planning on doing. But anytime something like this happens, obviously they re-evaluate."

The armed individual approached Mr. Evers' office around 15:00 EST (19:00 GMT) on Wednesday, according to Tatyana Warrick, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Administration. He was accompanied by a leashed dog and refused to leave the security desk outside the governor's office until he met with Mr. Evers.

At the entrance on the building's first floor, a lone police officer mans the desk, which also serves as a location for the attorney general's offices and a conference room.

The capitol building permits public access. There are two officers stationed in the rotunda, and no metal detectors at the entry points. Firearms may be brought in if concealed and the carrier holds a valid permit; however, the man was openly carrying without a permit.

Ms. Warrick disclosed that he was apprehended without incident, his firearm seized as evidence, and his dog handed over to city animal control.

Mobile footage of the arrest, provided to the Associated Press, reportedly captures the individual asserting that he is "not a threat," while acknowledging, "I broke that law."

According to police reports, he was booked into the Dane County Jail and posted his $500 (£410) bail independently.

Later that evening, shortly before 22:00 EST, he returned to the capitol grounds armed with a loaded AK 47-style rifle, despite the building's closing at 19:00 EST. Officers engaged him, requested a backpack search, and discovered "a collapsible police-style baton, which is illegal as the man did not have a valid concealed carry permit," Ms. Warrick stated.

Following concerning statements, the individual was taken into custody a second time that Wednesday night for a psychiatric evaluation.

As of the latest update, it remains unconfirmed whether he is still in custody.

Police have refrained from disclosing his identity, yet Capitol Police disseminated a bulletin to lawmakers and staff on Thursday, featuring his photograph.

The individual informed police of his intent to persist in his attempts to meet with the governor regarding his concerns about domestic abuse towards men. Authorities also noted he "likely has access to a large amount of weapons and is comfortable using them," cautioning those in contact with him to exercise extreme care.

Lawmakers were not apprised of either incident until Thursday morning, and as of Thursday, no formal charges had been filed against the man.

Governor Evers, who has faced previous threats, continues to be a target of violent rhetoric. Elected officials, both prominent and local, across the United States grapple with an escalating number of threats and acts of violence.

Mr. Evers, elected as Wisconsin's governor in 2018 and re-elected last year, presides over a state that is hotly contested between political parties. His tenure has served as a formidable check against a number of Republican-backed initiatives.

Notably, in June, a Madison resident received a one-year prison sentence for issuing a barrage of threats against Mr. Evers and other state officials via voicemail, email, and social media.

These threats included graphic and menacing language, referring to the governor as a "dead man walking" and "a marked man."

Thursday's incident transpired over a year after Mr. Evers was listed as a target by a gunman previously accused of fatal violence against a retired county judge. The hit list, which included Mr. Evers along with other political figures, underscores the broader trend of threats against public officials in the United States.