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Exclusive Video: Deputies make split-second decisions as suspect attempts suicide-by-cop

Eau Claire County (WQOW) – Dramatic video from a chase and standoff last fall shows how quickly deputies had to make life-or-death decisions.

The shooting happened in the town of Brunswick last fall. Reese Diesterhaft, 23, later admitted he was on the run from authorities in South Dakota, and committed crimes here, getting police on his tail. Diesterhaft confronted the officers with a rifle, and led them on a chase through Dunn and Eau Claire Counties.

Little did those deputies know, Diesterhaft was baiting them and wanted them to pull the trigger. From the footage attached, you can see how split-second decisions can be the difference between life and death for the suspects and for the officers.

Related Story: Charges filed against man shot by Eau Claire County deputies

Lt. Cory Schalinske, an Eau Claire County sheriff’s deputy, said the two deputies involved, Deputy James Haworth and Deputy Dan Eaton, had only moments to make decisions. He walked our crew through the video.

Related Story: Eau Claire Co. deputies cleared in August shooting of Reese Diesterhaft

The dashcam footage shows Diesterhaft leave his vehicle, pointing a gun at Deputy Haworth. Haworth stopped his vehicle and yelled for Diesterhaft to put his hands up.

“Within those ten seconds he’s on the radio, he’s positioning his squad, he’s outside, making sure his squad rifle is ready to take action, so a lot of stuff going on,” said Schalinske.

Haworth had only 10 seconds to organize himself, eventually firing at Diesterhaft. Schalinske said Deputy Eaton also had to choose what to do to protect his fellow deputy. Eaton fired through his windshield. You can see Diesterhaft fall into the ditch.

“At this time there is a rush of adrenaline,” said Schalinske. “Training and experience is kicking in. It’s not an easy decision, officers train for it, and they react to it.”

As we’ve reported, Diesterhaft later told police he wanted to die from suicide-by-cop.

“This is a trend we are seeing. A lot more officer-involved incidents,” said Schalinske. “Officers train for deadly force situations. In this case, they didn’t know that it was suicide-by-cop. They were presented with a suspect with a long gun pointed at them and we train to go home, to win the fight. Thankfully the deputies did that.”

Disclaimer: Some parts of the video are blurred, but just know it may be tough to watch.

Shannon Hoyt

Shannon Hoyt started out as an intern in August 2017, moving to a full-time multi-media journalist and weekend anchor before becoming Daybreak anchor and now our 6 and 10 p.m. co-anchor.

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