Police said that Tony Evers returned to the Capitol at night with an assault rifle after posting bail. The 43-year-old man said he would not leave until he saw Governor Evers so he could talk about “domestic abuse towards men,” Capitol police stated in a bulletin sent to lawmakers and their staffs. Capitol police sent a bulletin to legislators and their staffs saying that the 43-year old man “would not leave until he met Governor Evers,” so he could discuss “domestic violence towards men.” Evers was not present at the time. Weapons are allowed into the Capitol as long as they’re concealed and the owner has a valid permit. The man who was arrested posted a video of the arrest to his Facebook page. One of his friends then downloaded it and sent it to The Associated Press. The man says in the video that he’s armed to “defend myself” against people he claims police will not protect him from. The man’s dog was with him.
When officers told him that it is illegal to openly carry firearms in the Capitol building, the man said, “I admit that I violated that law.” He returned to the Capitol’s exterior shortly before 9 pm, three hours after it closed. With a loaded assault rifle and a collapsible baton, Warrick reported. He again demanded to see the governor and was taken into custody.
The man said “he did not own a vehicle and it is likely he has access to a large amount of weapons and is comfortable using them,” police said in the bulletin sent to Capitol workers.
Capitol police named the suspect, but court records show that no charges had been filed as of late Thursday afternoon. The AP normally does not name suspects until they are charged and efforts are made to get comments from them, their lawyer or other representative.
Madison police reported Thursday that the man was taken into protective custody and taken to the hospital. The AP was unable to reach him, and a police spokesperson did not respond to an email asking for more details. Members of the man’s family and prior employers also did not immediately respond to voicemails.
In a podcast posted Tuesday, a man who identified himself with the same name and birthdate as the alleged gunman said he was in Madison and, in speech filled with profanity, said he would burn down the system “with love” because it is corrupt. He also said he wanted to keep living. He also said he wanted to keep living.
“Capitol Police took control of the situation and so it’s over,” Evers told reporters Thursday.
He declined to comment on what security changes may be enacted for him or the Capitol building.
“I never, ever talk about what my security detail does or what they’re planning on doing,” Evers said. “But whenever something like this occurs, they obviously reevaluate. “
The incident is just the latest in a series of violent threats against public officials.
Evers, a Democrat, was on a hit list of a gunman suspected of fatally shooting a retired county judge at his Wisconsin home in 2022. Other names on the list included Michigan Governor. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and others were also on the list. Whitmer, who was kidnapped in 2020, is not the only one targeted by a kidnapping plan. Public access to the Capitol is free from 8 am to 6 pm every day. No metal detectors are used.