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Charges: Western Wisconsin road attack likely forestalled darker plan

SOMERSET, Wis. - A Minneapolis man was on his way to kill his parents when he encountered a Somerset motorist who became the target of his aggression until police intervened, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The Nov. 21 episode left a Somerset woman and a St. Croix County Sheriff's Office deputy with injuries following the apparently random act of violence on the road. The woman reported being chased on Highway 64 into Somerset by a stranger who crashed his SUV into her car multiple times along the way.

The woman told police the man punched her at one point during the episode while they were both outside their vehicles; he was later arrested after a trio of deputies and a Somerset officer struggled — including with stun guns that had no effect — to bring him under control.

One deputy who was injured in the process reported the suspect, 33-year-old Marshall Bullis, tried grabbing his gun several times during the struggle.

Bullis was charged Wednesday, Nov. 28, with three felonies — attempting to disarm an officer, causing a soft-tissue injury to an officer while resisting and second-degree recklessly endangering safety — along with two misdemeanors counts.

The complaint states Bullis had called his father earlier in the evening and said he "needed to kill" him and his wife. Bullis made post-arrest comments to Somerset police about killing his parents, the complaint states.

Sheriff Scott Knudson said Bullis is being held in a secure facility as a result of his statements to officers in advance of a court date.

Deputies spoke with Bullis' parents by phone at their Stone Lake home after he was arrested. According to the complaint, his father said Bullis had been diagnosed as bipolar but had been off his medication for two months. The father described "a change in his behavior" since Bullis went off his medication, the complaint states. The parents "felt the threat was real" that night, according to the charging document. They told officers they took the unusual step of locking their home that night out of fear of Bullis.

The motorist — a Lakeview Hospital nurse — who was allegedly assaulted told officers she had no idea who her attacker was. The Somerset resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said in a letter this week to the New Richmond News how people often take law enforcement's role for granted because they seldom need the help.

"Unfortunately that night I needed to," a portion of the letter states. "I want everyone to know they saved my life."

No court date has been set yet for Bullis.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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