Man charged with OWI, gun offense after Fredonia standoff

Ozaukee Press staff

A 61-year-old man who was drunk and armed with a high-powered rifle was arrested at his Fredonia home Monday night after a standoff with authorities, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Michael C. Halbman is charged with one felony count of fourth-offense drunken driving and possession of a firearm while drunk, a misdemeanor.

The incident began after an employee at Big Joe’s gas station and convenience store in the Town of Fredonia reported that at 5:35 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, a highly intoxicated man made a purchase at the store, then drove away.

Using a description of the man’s Jeep Laredo and a partial license plate number, authorities tracked the vehicle to Halbman’s home on Fredonia Avenue.

After officers knocked on the door, a woman came to a window and, referring to Halbman, said, “He is sleeping. We don’t need you here,” according to the complaint.

While an Ozaukee County sheriff’s deputy was obtaining a search warrant, another deputy was talking to Halbman through a window. Halbman admitted driving to Big Joe’s to buy cigarettes and “a bottle,” said he wasn’t coming out of his house and made reference to having guns, although he did not directly threaten officers, the complaint states.

Officers obtained a search warrant and, as they were forcing their way into the house, a deputy saw Halbman put an object down near the window where he was standing. Authorities found a rifle that was loaded and had a round in the chamber where Halbman had been standing, the complaint states.

Halbman was arrested and taken to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton for a blood test. 

On the way from the hospital to the county jail, he told deputies, “I might have been drinking and driving to Big Joe’s, but I wasn’t too drunk not to make it there and back without crashing,” according to the complaint.

During a court hearing Tuesday, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland set Halbman’s bail at $5,000 and ordered him to maintain absolute sobriety and not possess guns.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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