Man's conduct near Boulder Lake Campground did not prompt mental health order

Boulder Lake Campground sign, January 23, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OCONTO COUNTY (WLUK) -- Through open records requests, FOX 11 is learning more about the man that is being blamed for the shutdown of a popular Oconto County campground.

FOX 11 is not naming the man, because no charges have been filed against him.

There is still no telling when the gates to Boulder Lake Campground might reopen.

Oconto County Sheriff's officials say the man firing guns on his neighboring property is one of the reasons the campground closed. That is not illegal, but it sparked safety concerns for officers.

However, it turns out the man's conduct near the campground is not why an Oconto County judge ordered the man last week to spend at least the next six months in a mental health facility.

Court officials tell FOX 11 the man's mental health hearing had nothing to do with the campground. In fact, the judge didn't even know about the situation at the time of the hearing. Court officials say it had to do with a case referred from Dane County.

Through one open records request, FOX 11 has learned the man had five run-ins with Madison Police during an 18-day stretch last year. The department provided us police reports for only four of the incidents, because it says the fifth case is being reviewed by the Dane County District Attorney's office for possible charges.

A November 13th police report shows officers were called to a Madison Target Store for a report of a man handcuffing young employees. Police found the Oconto County man wearing a K9 Officer shirt with a leashed German Shepherd. The dog was wearing a tactical vest on its back. The man told officers he likes to joke around with people. Police investigated the incident as disorderly conduct, but no charges were filed.

11 days later, a report shows Madison Police encountered the man again, in the same K9 Officer outfit. This time the man had a gun. He called police to a hotel because of an incident with his wife. In the report, police wrote the man admitted to suffering from PTSD. In that report, the officer wondered how the man was able to carry a firearm.

Police encountered the man two other times at traffic crashes. The police reports show each time the man would show up in a white truck with an emergency light flashing. The man told police he was there to help as a paramedic.

Oconto County Sheriff's officials tell us the man's encounters with Madison Police played a role in the U.S. Forest Service's decision to close Boulder Lake campground.

To find out more information about the man's contact with the campground, FOX 11 filed an open record request with Oconto County’s corporation counsel. Oconto County provided us eight sheriff's department incident reports from a 16-month span. However, none of them had anything to do with the campground.

Forest officials say they also have no incident reports involving the man at the campground.

The forest service says it is still working with law enforcement on possibly reopening the campground. However, for now, it is staying closed.

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