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La Crosse weekend crime spike includes drive-by shootings and armed robbery

Kaitlyn Riley

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The La Crosse Police Department responded to more than 400 calls from June 19-21 including two drive-by shootings and a home invasion.

Friday night around 11:00, officers were called to Fish’s Bar and Grill at 1452 Caledonia St. where Benjamin J. Geiwitz (05/31/1989) allegedly threatened other patrons with a gun. Geiwitz was found in the beer garden. He turned away from officers, at which point he was detained and placed in handcuffs.

Benjamin J. Geiwitz

A Beretta handgun was found in his waistband, according to La Crosse Police. Police learned Geiwitz got into an argument with the victims before showing his gun. He had a 0.3 percent preliminary breath test. He was arrested for disorderly conduct while armed and intoxicated use of a firearm.

On Saturday evening and in the early morning hours of Sunday, officers responded to two different locations for multiple shots being fired. Police believe the incidents are related. The Saturday night incident started around 8:45. Officers responded to a shooting in the 1000 block of 5th Ave. South. Upon arrival, officers located multiple shell casings in the alley behind 1010 5th Ave. South and bullet holes in surrounding buildings. Follow-up investigation located additional shell casings in front of the residence.  No injuries were reported.

Sunday around 12:42 a.m., a surveillance camera caught two vehicles near the 900 block of 5th Ave. South traveling north at a high rate of speed. The La Crosse Police Department said one vehicle was chasing the other. Audio from a camera picked up gunfire sounds. Numerous shell casings were recovered from the scene, and several homes and multiple unoccupied cars were also struck by gunfire.  No injuries have been reported.  These shootings are under active investigation.

Additionally, officers were dispatched to the 900 block of 7th St. South for a robbery around 8:38 p.m. Sunday. The victim described two suspects, one black male, and one black female, who knocked on the door and then forced their way inside. A female victim stated she was pushed to the ground by the male suspect and the female suspect kicked the female victim while she was on the ground. The male suspect proceeded to attack a male victim inside the residence. During the struggle, a handgun fell out of the male suspect’s pocket and the male victim was able to grab the gun. The suspect continued to attack the male victim while struggling for the gun. The male victim dropped the magazine of the gun and ejected the round from the weapon before the suspect got the gun back. The suspects stole money and fled the residence. The victims both sustained injuries in this robbery. This remains an active investigation.

Anyone with information on these crimes are asked to contact the La Crosse Police Department at 608-782-7575. Tips can anonymously be provided to the La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers at 608-7849 TIPS (8477) or online at www.lacrossecrimestoppers.com. Individuals can also download the Crime Stoppers App “P3” to submit a tip.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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    Bruce Warhanik

    June 23, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    I sure hope that a social worker was advised of the situation so they may help properly intervene prior to ANY direct police contact. We must not forget how good the bad guys are, and how bad the good guys are!

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