Onalaska man accused of stabbing man seven times during chase over slashed tires

Getty Stabbing (2)
(Getty Images)

ONALASKA, Wis. — A 56-year-old Onalaska man faces a charge of aggravated battery and use of a dangerous weapon for allegedly stabbing a man who was trying to detain him while he was slashing tires on vans at an Onalaska motel.

James Gallagher


James D. Gallagher also faces a charge of criminal damage to property for allegedly slashing the tires in the Stoney Creek Inn parking lot during the incident shortly after midnight Thursday, according to the criminal complaint.
The vans were company vehicles of Chickasaw Nation Industries, whose employees were working as contractors at Fort McCoy.
The employees noticed the man, later identified Gallagher, who was clad in dark clothing and slashing tires. They pursued him as he tried to flee. They nearly caught him at a fence, where he initially tried to stab one of the pursuers, the complaint says.
Gallagher managed to scramble over the fence, as did two people chasing him. One pulled him back, and he began stabbing that person. The scuffle spilled onto Hwy. 16 and onto the median across from the entrance of Blain’s Farm and Fleet.
When Onalaska police arrived, the pursuers had Gallagher pinned to the ground in the median, and police arrested him.
A Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance took the stabbing victim to a hospital, where medical staffers discovered a stab wound on the left side of his abdomen, one on the left side of his torso, another on his left hip, one to his left outer thigh, two on the left side of his back and one to his left buttock, the police complaint said.
Each wound was about a half-inch wide and appeared to be punctures, the complaint said.
Gallagher had two small wounds on his forehead, two half-inch cuts on his left hand and abrasions on his left elbow and knee, according to the complaint.
Gallagher’s motivation for the incident is unknown, the complaint stated.
The aggravated battery charge is a Class H felony that could result, upon conviction in a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to six years. Because a dangerous weapon was involved, the prison term could be increased by up to five years.
The criminal damage to property charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to nine months.