MARINETTE COUNTY – A horrific ride on Highway 141 in Marinette County ends with a man who shot himself, dead.
You just heard part of the 911 call from a terrified couple from Illinois who were randomly shot at Thursday afternoon.
The shooter also fired shots at a deputy’s squad car.
The Marinette County Sheriff identifies him as 43-year-old Robb DeGroot from Green Bay.
DeGroot led deputies on a nearly 35 mile chase. It started near Wausaukee and ended in the town of Goodman.
“I’m northbound along 141 north of Crivitz and someone shot through the windshield and he’s shooting at people in the road,” said a panicked Larry Peters to a Marinette County 911 dispatcher.
Peters was driving with his wife in this Jeep from Illinois to the U.P. when a bullet shattered his windshield. He was just south of Wausaukee.
“I got a hole in my window. He just started shooting. The bullet hit right in front of her the glass went right into her face. She’s okay, just scared to hell,” Peters told the 911 operator.
Peters stayed on the line with a 911 operator, as the gunman, Robb DeGroot, chased the couple, northbound on 141.
“He just shot at me! He just shot at us!” said Peters, to the dispatcher.
Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve says DeGroot shot the back of the Jeep with a 9-millimeter handgun, as he passed it on the highway.
“This goes all the way through into the inside of the vehicle,” said Sauve, pointing out a bullet hole in the back of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Sauve says the couple didn’t know DeGroot.
“They said they saw the vehicle first down by Crivitz but then when they got up by Wausaukee, this happened. But there was no apparent reason for it to happen,” said Sauve.
Sheriff’s deputies caught up with the suspect just north of Wausaukee.
He continued on 141 towards Pembine, where he turned onto U.S. Highway 8 and shot at deputies. Then he eventually turned down Shrine Road in Goodman. Deputies called for backup on this dusty dirt road.
“When they got out of the armored unit, there was no response from the suspect who was face down on the ground near the vehicle. He was down a bit into the woods through some trees. And they approached him and it appeared he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” said Sauve.
The sheriff’s department says it will continue to investigate what led DeGroot to go on this drive-by rampage.
The Marinette County Sheriff says he’s grateful no one else was injured. The sheriff says De Groot also had a scoped rifle and ammunition. De Groot had been depressed recently, the sheriff said.
An autopsy Friday confirmed DeGroot died of a gunshot wound to the head, investigators say. They are waiting for test results to see if he had been drinking or using drugs.