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A Trempealeau man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for shooting at La Crescent police officers during a high-speed chase through Houston County last year.

William Wallraff

Wallraff

William Gerald Wallraff, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Additional charges, including attempted murder, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Houston County Attorney Samuel Jandt said Wallraff had no prior criminal record and expressed remorse during the March 26 sentencing hearing. Jandt said “an essential portion” of Wallraff’s plea was his admission of certain facts that would “assist in the prosecution” of his alleged co-defendant, Wyatt Helfrich, 20, of La Crosse.

Jandt said Wallraff has agreed to testify against his co-defendant. As of Wednesday, a trial date in Helfrich’s case had not yet been set.

The two men were arrested after a shootout and chase early on July 31, 2017.

Wallraff, whose official address is listed in Kellogg told authorities he was living at a farm where he worked near Trempealeau when he and Helfrich, who was on house arrest, decided to move out west.

Police said Helfrich, the driver, fired a shotgun out the car window as La Crescent Police Officer Ryan Quanrud approached after stopping the pair as they drove out of town.

Officer Quanrud and a second officer, Christopher Frick, returned fire as Helfrich, who was shot in the neck, sped away. According to police reports, Wallraff fired out of the rear window at the pursuing officers as Helfrich drove west on Hwy. 44 at speeds of more than 100 mph.

After their vehicle went into a ditch near Caledonia, Helfrich and Wallraff fled into a cornfield before surrendering peacefully.

Officers recovered a 20-gauge shotgun, rifle, and ammunition at the scene.

None of the officers involved, nor Wallraff, were injured. Helfrich was treated for a gunshot wound.

Following the incident, the Winona County attorney determined the officers acted in self defence and were justified in their use of force.

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(3) comments

River54601

Frangel please list all these incidents that police have killed unarmed innocent people. I know there are some but not huge numbers.

River54601

Just 13 years. They should make gun crime sentences much harsher and minimums. Say 25 years minimum. That would reduce the gun crime culture. Tell these criminals “if you have a gun and commit a crime your locked up for 25 years, no alternatives. Even if you don’t use the gun in the crime but it’s on you, 25 years.

Frangel....really? You think you could do better, change professions. Remember you only here the bad stories about Law Enforcement on the main stream news. Good stories about Law Enforcement don’t sell and don’t hit that triggered emotion you just wrote about. I hope your a gun owner your self and good at using it under pressure and adrenaline rushed circumstances because the guys in blue are the first one your calling when someone breaks into your house with a gun.

“We back the badge”

Frangel45

I find it troubling that police are routinely given a pass when shooting often innocent, unarmed citizens, without provocation. Yet, we see this harsh punishment for a civilian with no objections. This most assuredly must be examined by our courts. Repeated gunshots when one will do as well. Are the police that poor at what they do that they must resort to this sort of carnage? I am losing all respect for police and law enforcement even though many are family and close friends.

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