La Crosse police identified career felon Roger Burzinski as the armed carjacker fatally shot by officers during a pursuit Sunday on the city’s South Side.

Burzinski, 54, of Green Bay, stole a Chevy Trailblazer from Houska Park about 5 p.m. after confronting a woman in the passenger seat at gunpoint. She was able remove her 3-year-old daughter from the backseat before Burzinski sped off with her 1-year-old daughter still inside.

Police found the car minutes later at 10th and Green Bay streets. Burzinski led officers on a pursuit of speeds up to 47 mph from South Avenue to Eighth Street, where he drove through a road construction site at Johnson Street, went airborne and crashed into a parked car about 10 minutes later.

Two officers, identified as Andrew Adey and Stephen Hughes, shot and killed Burzinski when he refused to comply with orders and they noticed he had a firearm, according to the department.

The child was unharmed. No officers were injured.

Adey and Hughes, with the agency for five and four years respectively, are on paid administrative leave per department policy pending the investigation by the state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke will decide whether the shooting was justified.

Burzinski’s criminal record in Wisconsin stretches back to 1980 and includes convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree sexual assault of a child, battery to police, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, fleeing police and armed robbery.

He served six years in prison for robbing a La Crosse convenience store of $60 by claiming to have a firearm in 1985 and four years for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1994, according to the complaints filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court. Records from the other cases were not available Tuesday.

Burzinski was released from prison in September after serving 11 years for armed robbery, fleeing police and felony drunken driving in two Brown County cases.

The state Department of Corrections issued an apprehension request for Burzinski on March 24 when he absconded from extended supervision and failed to comply with the state’s sex offender registry.

Burzinski’s brother, Randy Burzinski, is serving four years in prison for hitting a La Crosse officer in the face and swinging a knife at another officer when they went to arrest him for violating probation on Jan. 27, 2015.


Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at or 608-791-8224.

Load comments