Police arrested a 57-year-old Waupaca man after he allegedly fired a gun several times outside his home.
Viliulfo Benitez was charged Monday, April 8, with second-degree reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct with a weapon.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, Waupaca police and county sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunfire on the 400 block of Scott Street.
A man had called 911 and said he, his wife and daughter and another woman were trapped upstairs in their home.
He told 911 that Benitez was intoxicated and had been firing a gun. He said Benitez was downstairs between the rest of his family and the door.
Sgt. Mario Graceffa and Officer Paul Benzschawel went to the house, accompanied by five deputies from the sheriff’s department. The offices set up a perimeter around the house and an ambulance was on standby in a nearby downtown parking lot.
Police illuminated the house with their squad search lights.
After repeated calls, Graceffa made contact with Benitez and asked him to walk out of the house.
About 30 minutes after the police arrived, Benitez came out of the front door. Benzschawel ordered Benitez to show his hands and walk forward slowly. Benitez then retreated into his house.
Dispatch then informed the officers at the scene that the sounds of an opening drawer could be heard over the phone. Dispatch also reported hearing what seemed to be someone loading a gun.
Police reported seeing Benitez open and close the back door several times before he walked out onto the driveway. He was unarmed.
When Graceffa took Benitez into custody, he found a .22-caliber bullet in his coat pocket. He asked him if anybody had been hurt inside.
“No. Everything is fine,” Benitez replied, according to the criminal complaint. “I’m just upset a little.”
Graceffa reported that Benitez seemed intoxicated and had difficulty maintaining his balance.
Sgt. Scott Lewis and Deputies Tim Myers and Bill Zeamer entered the house and located the family. Nobody was injured, although they said they feared Benitez might have accidentally shot them.
One of the family described Benitez as having been “drunk and angry.”
Benitez’s daughter, who lives with her husband and infant daughter at the home, told police she heard gun shots, the complaint says. She went downstairs and found her father standing at the bottom of the stairs, holding a gun and laughing.
She said he began pulling the trigger without aiming the gun, but it was no longer loaded.
Her husband called 911 while her friend ran into a closet with the young child.
Neighbors said they heard five shots. One neighbor said she heard the gun shots, looked outside, did not see anything, so she assumed she had heard firecrackers until the police arrived.
Graceffa went into Benitez’s bedroom and found a box of ammunition on the bed and five spent .41-caliber shells. He found two .22-caliber rounds that had not been fired.
In a bedroom drawer, Graceffa found two revolvers. One of them was a fully loaded .41-caliber handgun and the other was a .22-caliber handgun with three rounds.
Initially police did not find any bullet holes in Benitez’s house. However, they found a bullet hole in a neighbor’s home when they expanded their search. The bullet had penetrated the vinyl siding, the plywood sheeting and the framing, but had not gone into the interior of the home.
Benitez was taken to the county jail, He told Graceffa that he had been shooting the gun into the air, according to the criminal complaint.
Benitez faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of reckless endangerment.