- Associated Press - Monday, October 31, 2016

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) - The man suspected of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy in western Wisconsin has an extensive criminal record, court records show.

Douglas Nitek, 43, is accused of killing Rusk County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Glaze Saturday night as the officer investigated a report of a suspicious vehicle in a field not far from the man’s house near Ladysmith, about 130 miles northeast of Minneapolis, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputy Glaze, 33, located the suspicious vehicle about 11 p.m., radioed for backup and wasn’t heard again, according to the sheriff’s office. Responding officers found Glaze fatally shot in his squad car.

Nitek was arrested about 10:20 a.m. Sunday at his residence after he shot at deputies, according to Sheriff Jeff Wallace. A robot was used to search his house before he surrendered, officials said.

Charges against Nitek date back to the 1990s with the more recent crimes of recklessly endangering safety, criminal damage to property and resisting arrest filed in nearby Sawyer County in July, according to court records. More than a dozen convictions include disorderly conduct, fleeing from officers, fourth-degree sexual assault and numerous drunken driving counts.

Wallace said Glaze has worked for the sheriff’s office for about 1½ years and a-half dozen years with the Hayward Police Department.

“Dan had a passion for police work and helping the citizens he protected and served. Dan will always be in our hearts and his service will never be forgotten,” said Hayward Police Chief Joel Clapero.

The population in the largely rural Rusk County is about 15,000. Its residents are tight knit, Geralynne Berg, of Ladysmith, told Eau Claire’s WEAU-TV.

“We’re all living in small towns, small villages and are very close to each other, so when something like this happens, it hits hard,” Berg said. Community members dropped off food, flowers and messages of encouragement at the sheriff’s department in Ladysmith.

“That’s our community. That’s how it is,” said Sheriff Wallace. “We’re a family and that’s how it is.”

Nitek is being held in jail in adjacent Barron County. No formal charges have been issued in the case.

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