Winnebago County sheriff makes plea to not ‘glamorize’ suspect in high school attack

In an effort to not “glamorize” the actions of a teen accused of bringing a weapon to Oshkosh West High School, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the media not to request his name or photograph.

A student got into an altercation Tuesday with a school resource officer before stabbing him, according to Oshkosh Police Department Chief Dean Smith, who spoke during a press conference. The officer then shot the student.

“The events at Oshkosh West High School on Tuesday, [December 3], could be considered part of an epidemic, and that as a nation, most of us recognize something needs to change. In an effort to reduce any potential contagion effect, and not to glamorize the actions of the perpetrator, I am respectfully requesting the Media not make a formal inquiry for his name and photograph,” said Sheriff John F. Matz in a statement on Facebook.

The sheriff acknowledged that the Wisconsin Public Records Law and Federal Freedom of Information Act law dictates records are generally releasable to the public. That would include records from the jail, including the name of the person incarcerated at the jail, the reason for their incarceration and their booking photo.

“As a community, I believe we can do better, and this is a positive step in the right direction, as we all try to impart a culture of change,” Matz said.

The student has been identified as a 16-year-old from the city of Oshkosh. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and is currently in the Winnebago County Jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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