Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 10/9/2004 11:31:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/9/2004 11:32:40 AM EDT by TheKill]
Confusion, arrogance, and felony charges!


Homecoming prank nearly led to deadly force
Small town police chief charged in Jackson County confrontation
Last Updated: Oct. 8, 2004
About midnight on a Jackson County country road last year, John Ellingson got the drop on a crew of teenagers he'd expected to show up with toilet paper in their hands and visions of turning his trees homecoming-week white.


Ellingson, a former cop, wanted to have a little fun and wandered out into his yard, which he'd already booby-trapped with tripwires and noisemakers. He even worked up a bear growl. The teenagers screamed and ran.

Things then got so bizarre that only a full moon was missing.

Neither Ellingson nor anybody else could have dreamed how the high jinks would fast devolve into a Mayberry vignette with a terrifying twist. Within a few minutes, Ellingson would be facing a pistol barrel. He heard the hammer click, he told the investigators later.

More than a year after the strange evening of Sept. 27, 2003, the police chief of the nearby Village of Norwalk was arrested Friday, accused of overzealous after-hours vigilante work and three felonies.

Matthew L. Hopkins, 34, of Sparta, faces a court date Monday on a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, accused of menacing Ellingson and Ellingson's 17-year-old daughter with a pistol.

As Hoskins sat in the Jackson County Jail Friday, no one answered the phone at the police department of Norwalk, which had a population of 653 in the 2000 U.S. Census. A release from the Jackson County sheriff's office said that he had previously worked for the Juneau County Sheriff's Department, the Fort McCoy Police Department and the State Patrol. None of the three agencies could be reached for confirmation.

Although Jackson County Sheriff's Department representatives declined to comment on why the investigation took more than a year, a criminal complaint filed Friday fleshes out the story behind the charges Hoskins faces.

The complaint says:

Ellingson, the father of 17-year-old twins, told police he crept into his front yard around midnight, listening to the laughter and conversation of the approaching teenagers. Ellingson growled, the children scattered and he watched them run back to their SUV, which awkwardly turned around in a neighbor's driveway, Ellingson said.

When two girls jumped out to look for their shoes, Ellingson clambered into the SUV to scare the driver and to warn her to drive safely before sliding out. She took off fast, he recalled.

Before Ellingson finished walking home with his daughter, they noticed that a man behind them was pointing a gun at them, looking "mad and very agitated", yelling "shut up" and "jumping side to side," according to what Ellingson told police. They thought the gun was fake; two shots in the air convinced them otherwise.

Ellingson later identified the man as Hoskins.

Hoskins allegedly ordered the Ellingsons to the ground, but both balked. He allegedly flung the daughter down, and the father - who had seen gunplay in his 11 years as a reserve law-enforcement officer - went for Hoskins. Their quick melee ended with a shot fired into the ground, then Hoskins allegedly pointed the gun at Ellingson's chest.

When he pulled the trigger, the empty gun clicked, and each man began trying to convince the other he was a police officer, Ellingson told investigators.

A neighbor interceded, and Hoskins put the gun in his pocket, according to Ellingson.

Later, investigators spoke with Hoskins' girlfriend, who is a jail lieutenant for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and a neighbor of Ellingson's in the Town of Albion.

According to the complaint, she told investigators Hoskins had gone out that night with her pistol and a flashlight to investigate noises, and that she had to replace three rounds when she went back to work that Monday.

Hoskins posted $25,000 bail Friday afternoon, staff at the Jackson County Jail said.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Oct. 9, 2004.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:37:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/9/2004 11:43:18 AM EDT by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:38:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:42:10 AM EDT
Where did they get this reporter, 7th grade?

Can anyone explain exactly what happened?
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:42:12 AM EDT
Whiskey Tango.... ?

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:42:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
I am confused, I rad the entire article, and am not sure at all who did what.


That was a terrible piece of journalism.

From what I could gather, small town police chief tried to act like a badass for some reason and almost shot some dude. That's about it.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:43:14 AM EDT
Why does it say "Advertisement" at the top?

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:43:27 AM EDT
Cliff notes: Elingson (former cop), and his 17 year old daughter, knew some kids from her school were going to raid the house with TP. So he set up trip wires with noisemakers and waited. When the kids showed up, Elingson scared the crap out of them. The turned around in the neighbors driveway and fled. What is hidden in the story is that Hopkins' girlfriend (Hopkins is the Chief) is the neighbor, and what they don't say (but can be assumed) is that Hopkins was there at his GF's house. He heard the commotion and came outside with his GF's duty gun, fired a couple shots in the air, and attempted to put Elingson and his daughter down to the ground. Elingson tried for the gun, a shot was fired into the ground, and then Hopkins pointed the gun at Elingson and pulled the trigger on an empty chamber or misfire. Another neighbor intervened. A year later, the DA decides Hopkins committed a few crimes and arrest him.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:44:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 444slayer:
Why does it say "Advertisement" at the top?

That is a text placeholder, when I copy/paste, the actual ad does not save.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:44:43 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:46:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
A few other details would have been good as well, why was Hoskins in the area, whose property were they on, did Ellingson threaten anybody with anything other than a bear growl?

Much further in the story, the mention that Hoskins' GF is a jail deputy, it was her gun, and she is a neighbor of Elingson. It doesn't say anywhere, but I assume that is where Hoskins came from.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:48:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 11:58:16 AM EDT
Whom ever wrote this article should be fired. Very poor atrticulation in the writing.

I have a question for LEO's, is it normal to fire rounds in the air?? Wasn't there a lady cop in the last week or so who did the same thing and was charged as a result??

Maybe this guy saw to many bad westerns??
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 12:01:06 PM EDT
What do you get when an off duty cop confronts a former cop in the dark?

Hide your dog?
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 12:01:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HRoark:
Where did they get this reporter, 7th grade?

Can anyone explain exactly what happened?

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 12:05:38 PM EDT
What a freaking idiot of a writer! That was awful.

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 12:09:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 3:11:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
A few other details would have been good as well, why was Hoskins in the area, whose property were they on, did Ellingson threaten anybody with anything other than a bear growl?

...did Hoskins ever properly identify himself as a police officer at the BEGINNING of the incident....?
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 3:33:28 PM EDT
Thank God! I was worried that I was the only one confused. I read at the same grade level that this reporter writes at.
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 3:39:12 PM EDT
Thar was one of the most confusing pieces of copy that I think I've ever read. Doesn't that paper have a proof reader?
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 3:48:21 PM EDT
WTF?? That was like listening to a little excited teenage girl try to tell you a story. Then afterwards you say "Ok, can you calm down and tell me that again, but try to make sense this time?".
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 3:57:26 PM EDT
Who shot who in the what now?
Top Top