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Man killed neighbor, shot himself
A deputy with the Rock County Sheriff's Office takes cover behind his squad and keeps a weapon trained on a residence on Stuart Road in the Town of Plymouth after a shooting incident Wednesday. (Photo by Bill Olmsted, Janesville Gazette)
TOWN OF PLYMOUTH - Police continue investigating why a man in his 70s shot and killed his neighbor before turning the gun on himself at his rural property southeast of Orfordville on Wednesday morning.

The victim, a woman in her 50s who lived on the same road, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a shed across the road from the man's house, Sheriff Robert Spoden said.

The man was in custody in critical condition Wednesday night at University Hospital in Madison being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Spoden said.

Spoden declined to name the man, but he said the shooting occurred on the man's property. Rock County property records list Daniel and Emma Bellard as the owners of 6707 W. Stuart Road.

Spoden said he planned to release the names of the man and victim at a 9 a.m. press conference today.

"We are confident this is the only suspect that's involved in this and we believe this is an isolated incident," he said.

He said he understands the residents in the area probably are shocked by the news, but he assured them the area was secure.

"The community can go through a process of grieving and mourning," he said.

Spoden said he could not comment on any weapons that were recovered, a motive or how many shots were fired.

"Right now, we just don't know," he said of a motive. "We're ... so early into this investigation. We need to interview, obviously, any witnesses. I don't even know if there are any witnesses ... Right now, we're just trying to gain the basic facts as to what happened."

Deputies were called to the home at 6707 W. Stuart Road at 8:18 a.m. for a report of a shooting. The town of Plymouth is southeast of Orfordville in western Rock County.

The suspect's wife reported the incident, Spoden said.

Deputies set up a perimeter after learning there might be multiple victims and a shooter loose in the area, he said. Morning fog limited visibility.

The SWAT team was deployed, and a systematic search of the property led deputies to find the woman in a shed across the road from the home, Spoden said. When it was clear she did not survive, deputies continued the search for the suspect, he said.

The suspect was discovered in a shed next to the house, where he was semiconscious, he said.

The man was taken into custody and flown by helicopter to University Hospital. The man is in custody but authorities had not made a formal arrest as of late Wednesday, he said.

Because of the weather, rural location and nearby snowmobile trail, authorities used two snowmobiles and an ATV to secure the area, he said.

It was a couple hours before deputies were able to take the suspect into custody, he said.

The snowmobiles allowed authorities to take SWAT team members to rear areas of the location to search for the shooter. They also went to the snowmobile trail to prevent people from entering the scene, he said.

"We basically had the whole area cut off," Spoden said, "so we didn't have individuals coming through there."

The sheriff's office command trailer was set up, along with the SWAT team trailer. An ATV shuttled deputies from the scene to the command post, he said.