No progress made in reckless endangerment case

Wittenberg woman accused of pointing gun at child in village park
By: 
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

A case involving a Wittenberg woman accused of pointing a firearm at a group of children in May is still unresolved after a hearing Nov. 21 in Branch 2 at the Shawano County Courthouse.

Defense attorney Joseph Kaupie told Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court Judge William Kussel Jr. that he and the district attorney’s office needed additional time to discuss any potential agreements. Kaupie noted that the case was being handled by District Attorney Greg Parker, who has had to take leave due to health issues, and Assistant District Attorney Laura Nelson is still getting up to speed on his cases.

Mindy S. Leeder, 35, was charged May 10 with one count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

If convicted, Leeder faces $25,000 in fines and 12 1/2 years in prison for the first-degree recklessly endangering safety count and $1,000 and 90 days for the disorderly conduct count.

According to the criminal complaint, Shawano County sheriff deputies were dispatched May 9 to 401 S. Mill St. in Wittenberg for a report of a weapons offense. The caller stated that a woman was at Pond Park and was pointing a firearm at multiple children. When arriving on scene, one deputy was shown a video of Leeder as she allegedly pulled a gun from her waistband and pointed it at one of the children, who was recording the video.

The deputies were informed of the house that Leeder entered, at 301 E. Front St. When police officers pulled up to the residence, Leeder walked out of the house with her hands in the air, complying with law enforcement officials’ orders. The firearm that Leeder had allegedly pointed at the children was found inside the residence, where she told law enforcement it was.

When talking to the children who were at the park at the time, they told law enforcement that Leeder came to the park to yell at them because they were allegedly bullying her children. The children said that they were not bullying. They stated that Leeder was pointing the gun at them and waving it around in the air.

The children reportedly told Leeder that they were going to call the police. From there, the criminal complaint states that Leeder put the gun in her pocket and went to the Front Street residence, where law enforcement arrested her.

In an interview with Leeder, deputies claim she stated that she could hear her daughter yelling when the daughter was at Pond Park. Upon hearing the yelling, Leeder stated that she wanted to walk over to the park to see what was going on. She also stated that it is common for her to take a concealed firearm with her when leaving the residence, as she has a valid concealed carry permit. She also confirmed that the firearm was loaded.

Leeder went on to say that when she was leaving her residence, her daughter came home and reported the bullying, but did not specify what the bullying was. Leeder told law enforcement that her children have experienced bullying at Pond Park in the past.

When addressing the group of children at Pond Park, Leeder said that the children became argumentative and began to form a semicircle around her. She allegedly told the children that she had a firearm and, when asked if it was real, she allegedly pulled the gun out of her pocket. She reportedly pointed the gun in the air without putting her finger on the trigger, saying that she did not point the gun at any of the children and was being situationally aware of her surroundings. She said that the children got scared and that she put the gun back into her pocket after holding it in the air.

When questioned by law enforcement whether presenting the firearm was necessary, Leeder reportedly said: “It probably wasn’t; I was probably just nervous and scared. I don’t like confrontation, to be honest.”

Leeder is currently free on a cash bond of $10,000 and a signature bond of $15,000. The next hearing is a final pre-trial on Feb. 21 in Branch 2.

lpulaski@newmedia-wi.com