Kenosha County deputy shot during traffic stop

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Kenosha County, Wisconsin, sheriff's deputy was shot and killed during a traffic stop Wednesday night. Police are questioning a suspect taken into custody after a massive manhunt. The deputy was shot during a traffic stop.

It happened around midnight in the Town of Somers, setting off an intense manhunt by land and air.

Like many police agencies, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department is a tight group of officers. Many have been serving together for decades. Frank Fabiano Jr. joined the department in 1989. He is described as one of the best deputies in the county -- and he had the awards to back it up. His fellow officers are trying to piece together the tragic shooting.

Deputy Frank Fabiano Jr. had made hundreds of routine traffic stops during his 18 years with the Kenosha Sheriff's Department, but his last one would cost him his life. He was trying to pull over a 1995 Chevy Astro van just before midnight. The driver pulled into a subdivision of an upscale neighborhood near the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus. Police say the driver then shot Fabiano.

"In the initial inspection at the hospital, it appears that Deputy Fabiano was shot one time in the face, and that was enough to bring him down," said Sheriff David Beth, Kenosha County.

The first officer to respond to the scene returned fire as the suspect took off into the nearby woods. Dozens of squad cars flooded the neighborhood. The manhunt involved two helicopters, several K-9 units and officers from Kenosha and surrounding towns.

"It was huge. There was probably 40 or 50 officers, agencies from all over the place. The sheriff didn't mention the Illinois officers but they were there, Waukegan, Gurnee, Lake County Sheriff were out there," said Sgt. Robert Hallisy, Kenosha Sheriff's Department.

Thanks to several residents who called in tips, police were able to find the suspect about three hours later in a parking lot about a half mile from the scene. Throughout the day, investigators continued to search the van and comb through the neighborhood looking for evidence.

Thursday morning, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth held an emotional news conference remembering the life of Deputy Fabiano, who received a departmental Silver Star for saving someone from a burning building in 1991 and got a departmental Purple Heart after being shot by a suspect, also in 1991. His friends who served with him over the years described him in many of the same ways.

"Very quiet, soft spoken, easy going guy, does his job really well. Give him any assignment, he'd finish it," said Sgt. Hallisy.

"So he was a very important part of this community... family and department... very sadly missed," said Sheriff Beth.

Fabiano is survived by his wife and 8-year-old daughter.

As for the suspect, police are trying to figure out who he is. The 45-year-old man has several aliases and at least five Social Security numbers. Police say he has a Kenosha address, though they are not sure if it is current. Charges will likely be filed Friday.

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