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Investigators outside May's Photo

Investigators talk Sunday afternoon outside May's Photo on Main Street where they were collecting evidence in the shooting deaths of store owner Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J. Petras. Chris Hubbuch/La Crosse Tribune

La Crosse police provided no new information Wednesday on the slayings of Paul Petras and his son, A.J., other than to say the investigation is continuing.

Meanwhile, two efforts are under way to memorialize the father and son shot to death Saturday at May’s Photo, 425 Main St.

“I’m just trying to help the family out as much as I can,” Lisa Brooks said of memorial bracelets she has ordered.

The lime green and white bracelets will carry the message “Forever In Our Hearts” on the top, and “Paul and A.J. Petras” with a heart symbol on the bottom.

Brooks hopes they arrive today so people can have them before the memorial service for the Petrases on Friday.

Brooks, 23, said she undertook the project because Allison Petras, Paul’s daughter, is a friend and former classmate at Central High School. Any profits will go toward a memorial fund set up at the Governmental Employees’ Credit Union, she said.

“They are doing the best they can,” Brooks said of Allison and Allison’s mother, Sherri Petras.

“It would be nice if we could hear that police have a lead, but I have faith in the La Crosse Police Department,” said Brooks, a bartender and server at Dublin Square Restaurant less than a block from the scene of the killings.

Paul and A.J. Petras are believed to have been shot sometime between the store’s closing at 2 p.m. on Saturday and shortly after 5 p.m., when Sherri Petras discovered the bodies.

Police confirmed on Monday that they have interviewed students from a photography class that took place shortly before the store closed, but they don’t know for sure who attended because there was not a formal roster.

One man told the Tribune on Tuesday that he saw a suspicious person inside the shop when he walked past about 4:15 p.m.

The witness, who described himself as a regular customer, said he noticed some lights on and the open sign still in the door. He saw a man near the back counter but couldn’t see his face. But it it was not Paul Petras or his son, he said.

When he walked past the shop again about 5 p.m., he noticed that the sign had been changed to closed.

Sherri Petras went to the store minutes later looking for her husband because he had not come home at the usual time and wasn’t answering her calls. A customer at a nearby restaurant called 911 at 5:24 p.m. after she ran from the store calling for help.

The Petras family has declined interview requests.

Citing the ongoing investigation, La Crosse police on Wednesday denied an open records request from the Tribune for reports of past calls to 425 Main St.


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