A woman is escorted from the scene of a shooting at a software company in Middleton, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Four people were shot and wounded during the shooting in the suburb of Madison, according to a city administrator. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
MIDDLETON, Wis. – The shooter in the Wisconsin workplace shooting was transferred to a psychiatric hospital and excluded from the purchase of firearms in 2004 after telling South Dakota police that he thought co-workers were “talking bad about him,” according to court records and the police.
Anthony Tong also said that he believed that his neighbors were after him, the police was called to his Sioux Falls apartment. Officers cuffed Tongue for their own safety, because he was acting delusional and paranoid, and grabbed a pistol and an AR-15 rifle from his home, according to the South Dakota court documents.
The revelations raise questions about how Tongue acquired the 9 mm pistol used in Wednesday’s attack at WTS Paradigm, a software company in Middleton, Wisconsin. Researchers claim that the 43-year-old employee opened fire in his office, seriously injuring three people and grazing a fourth for officers killed him in a shoot-out.
Middleton police chief Chuck Foulke said during a press conference Friday that the Tongue had no criminal record, but said his run-in with the police in South Dakota in 2004 resulted in a judge revoking his concealed-carry permit about mental health questions. That the repeal would have red-flagged him on a gun background check, make it illegal for him to purchase firearms, Foulke said.
“It is certainly seems like it with some loophole he was able to get that firearm, and he would not have been able to do that,” Foulke said.
Foulke said a motive for the attack is still unclear.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracing the origin of the gun used in Wednesday’s attack but the agents were running into problems with the track, Foulke said.
“There is something unique about that weapon that they have difficulty finding where it came from and what hands it passed through,” the head of the police said.
He refused to work.
Tongue moved to the area from South Dakota in March 2017, a month before he started his job with WTS Paradigm, Foulke said. The chief said that he did not know what Tong was doing for a living before moving to Wisconsin.
According to South Dakota court records, the manager of the Tongue is a Sioux Falls apartment complex called the police in August 2004 because the fire alarm had been disconnected in Tong’s apartment.
Tongue told officers he had disconnected the fire alarm. In his apartment they discovered that he had broken a host of other electronic devices, including fans, lights, and smoke detectors. Tong told the police that he disabled the devices because the people in the apartment below were bugged him.
Officials reported that the Tongue still for a few minutes to answer simple questions and defensive when he did answer. He also blocked a bedroom door when the police asked if anyone else was in the apartment.
Officers handcuffed him and found a .40-caliber pistol under his shirt. They also found a can of pepper spray and a folding knife on him, according to court documents. In the bedroom, the officers discovered an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Tongue told them that he had the weapons for protection.
“Defendant’s statements that there were people at work who were talking bad about him, but would not elaborate,” a statement said.
He was transferred to a psychiatric hospital on a 24-hour hold. In November of that year, a state judge revoked his concealed-carry permit in November of that year.
On Friday, authorities in Wisconsin said the terms of the three seriously injured workers had improved. The woman and two men, had been upgraded from serious to fair condition at University Hospital in Madison, according to YOUR Health.
The police do not know whether the victims were targeted, shot in random order. Their names not to be released.
Nord reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.