A Cumberland man charged with a fatal shooting in Barron on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, was engaged in a car chase with his victim’s roommate at the time the incident took place, according to a complaint filed Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, in Barron County Circuit Court.
Suspect Clayton M. Lauritsen, now 21, remains in the county jail on a $75,000 cash bond pending a court appearance on Tuesday morning, Jan. 19, after he turned himself in at the Barron County Justice Center shortly after the shooting, the complaint said.
The victim, Lauritz Robertson, 45, of Barron, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting on North Mill Street near the Canadian National Railway crossing.
The complaint describes a series of events that began at a Rice Lake car wash where the victim’s roommate, identified as Alexander R. Vaughn, said he received a text message from an unknown source and then saw a gray sedan following him.
Vaughn told investigators that he drove to the CTH O roundabouts near the Rice Lake Walmart “and circled around them multiple times to see if the Mazda continued to follow.” The suspect car not only continued to follow him, it later pulled up next to him, he told police.
While the car was next to him, Vaughn saw a passenger, who was not charged in the complaint, who “flashed what appeared … to be a black handgun.”
Vaughn said he left Rice Lake, driving south on CTH SS, with the Mazda in pursuit. He told police that as he arrived in Barron, he texted Robertson that he was being chased, and that Robertson “told (Vaughn) to head toward (the) home where they lived with (Vaughn’s) father in Barron.”
As he turned onto North Mill Street, Vaughn saw the Mazda slowly following him, at a distance, the complaint said. He then made a U-turn onto southbound Mill Street and “made multiple turns on different streets in an attempt to lose the Mazda.”
After noticing he wasn’t being followed any longer, Vaughn returned to his home several minutes later, where, he told police, he saw his father’s red pickup truck on the street. Then, he saw the victim lying on the ground nearby, the complaint said.
A Barron County sheriff’s deputy interviewed the passenger in the defendant’s car. He said the defendant picked him up that day in Rice Lake and said “they saw (Vaughn’s) car at the car wash … and … began chasing the car around Rice Lake,” then south to Cameron and into Barron.
The witness said the defendant “took a handgun out of the driver’s door and put it in the center console” as the chase went on.
The witness allegedly admitted to “waving the gun at (Vaughn)” during the chase in Rice Lake. He told the deputy that the defendant “wanted to fight” Vaughn, according to the complaint.
As the pair chased Vaughn on Mill Street, the witness said a truck pulled out behind Vaughn. It then stopped at the rail crossing. A man (later identified as the victim) “got out of the truck and began yelling at the defendant.”
The witness said the victim “saw the gun in the defendant’s lap, and a struggle ensued” as the two tried to gain control of the gun. The witness said the defendant “pushed (the victim’s) hand off the gun, and, a few moments later, shot the victim.”
The two drove away from the scene of the shooting, as the witness told the defendant to call 911.
The complaint said Barron County dispatchers received two 911 calls about a minute apart late on the afternoon of Dec. 28. One from a bystander who said he witnessed the shooting and the second from the defendant, who said “he had just shot someone” … and who reported “he was driving to the sheriff’s department,” where he was later detained without incident.
A sheriff’s deputy went to the scene, where he found “a group of people (who) were attempting to assist a man who was lying motionless” on the ground. The deputy and a bystander “performed lifesaving measures,” but the victim couldn’t be revived. The deputy noticed the victim had been shot in the chest.
A sheriff’s deputy later interviewed two other witnesses, a man who helped try to revive the victim, and a woman whom he was driving to work, the complaint said.
Both witnesses said they saw a confrontation between the victim, who was standing near the Mazda, and the defendant. The male witness said he was in the process of pulling around the Mazda when he “heard a pop, which he believed was a gunshot,” and then “saw (the victim) grab his chest. The man took two or three steps back and fell backwards into the snow,” the witness said.
The defendant was later questioned by a sheriff’s deputy and Barron police. He allegedly said he loaded the gun shortly before the victim got out of his truck and placed it on his lap. He allegedly admitted to shooting the victim, according to the complaint.
Barron police later found a Hi-Point, 9 millimeter model C9 handgun in the Mazda, the complaint said.