Man charged with shooting two West Allis officers

Demario Lamonte Bell
Published on: 8/19/2010

West Allis police Officers Nick Stachula and Ryan McNally found themselves in a dangerous situation early Aug. 7.

The officers were standing in a hallway 10 to 15 feet from Demario Lamonte Bell, who had just fled from a traffic stop and was now refusing to leave his girlfriend's apartment, standing in the dark and keeping his hands behind his back, according to a criminal complaint released Thursday.

Just as Stachula was about to use his Taser, Bell pulled a 9mm handgun from behind his back and began firing, the complaint says. Stachula was hit at least twice in the left leg, and McNally was shot in the left foot.

A police sergeant returned fire, striking Bell in the chest and abdomen, according to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant.

Bell, 23, of West Milwaukee was charged this week with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and fleeing from or eluding a traffic officer.

According to the complaint and the affidavit:

Stachula tried to pull Bell over after seeing him driving erratically about 12:50 a.m. Aug. 7, but Bell sped away. A man who was in the car with Bell later told police Bell may have taken illegal pills and said he didn't want to go to jail.

Bell has previous convictions for marijuana possession, resisting or obstructing an officer and driving with a revoked license, court records show. He was on probation at the time of the shooting, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Stachula stopped pursuing Bell, following West Allis police procedures. A check of Bell's license plate showed the vehicle was registered to his girlfriend's apartment in the 5500 block of W. Greenfield Ave.

Stachula and McNally knocked on the apartment door. A man named Tyrone Malone stepped into the hallway to speak with the officers, but Bell stayed inside the apartment, standing about 10 to 15 feet away with his hands behind his back.

The shootout began moments later. Malone ran from the apartment once shots were fired.

Police from several agencies surrounded the building for hours until a man named Danny Paulos, who hid in a closet in the apartment during the shootout, came outside around 4 a.m. and said Bell had been shot and was still inside.

Officers found Bell lying in a pool of blood near his handgun. He told the officers he no longer wanted to die.

Police found marijuana while searching the apartment after the shooting, according to inventory reports filed with a search warrant.

Bell's girlfriend told a reporter after the shooting that he suffered from depression. Bell also left depressed and suicidal messages on his Facebook page in the weeks before the incident.

McNally, 28, is the West Allis Police Department's canine officer and has been on the force for six years, department officials said.

Stachula, 33, has been an officer for nine years and has received the department's Life Saving Award and a volunteerism award.

They were the first West Allis officers shot in the line of duty since an officer was shot in 1983. That officer survived and returned to duty.