Prosecutors in Waukesha County, Wis., charged Nathanael Ray Benton, 23, of Fargo with two first-degree felony charges of attempted intentional homicide in connection to the shooting in Delafield, a city west of Milwaukee. He also faces a felony count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Benton was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. Friday in a field near a shopping center in Delafield, the city’s Police Chief Erik Kehl said. Authorities said Benton was involved in a hit-and-run crash around 1:40 a.m. the same day before he allegedly shot at two officers in Delafield.
According to a criminal complaint:
Police from Hartland, Wis., and Delafield responded to the Holiday Inn at 3030 Golf Road. Officers found a vehicle parked in the hotel parking lot with a driver and two passengers, including Benton.
After officers asked to search Benton’s backpack, he pulled out a handgun and started shooting, the complaint alleged. Officers returned fire as he fled the scene, according to the complaint.
The driver of the vehicle told officers she had just met Benton while traveling to visit her aunt. When the shots were fired, she fled and called 911, the complaint said.
Two officers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. One officer was hit twice in the back and once in the hip, the complaint said. The other was shot in the leg.
It’s unclear if Benton was injured in the shootout. Kehl did not return a message left Friday by The Forum.
Benton was apprehended after law enforcement received a tip that he was spotted in Delafield, Kehl said. Video from a Wisconsin news outlet appears to show Benton surrendering peacefully in the field with his hands up.
He did not have a firearm on him when he was arrested, but officers found two handguns nearby, the complaint said. No one was injured in the arrest, according to media reports.
Fargo police had been searching for Benton, who is suspected of shooting Nathan Crawford from behind in the city, according to an incident report filed in Cass County District Court. Crawford reported the incident around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Crawford was found in the 100 block of Roberts Street North by the downtown fire station before being taken to a hospital. He told police he met with two men, one who was later identified as Benton, at an apartment, the incident report said. While in a garage, Benton shot Crawford from behind before fleeing, the document alleged.
Cass County prosecutors filed a Class A felony charge of attempted murder against him on Monday.
Benton has a criminal history in North Dakota that includes reckless driving, simple assault, preventing arrest and sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to a Class B felony charge of sexual imposition in Richland County after being accused of raping a victim in December 2016.
He was sentenced to four years in prison, with 227 days credit for time served, on Sept. 25, 2017.
Since charges have been filed against Benton in Wisconsin, he will have to face them before he is extradited to North Dakota.