West Bend alderman accidentally shoots, kills self while hunting in Door County
DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The city of West Bend is mourning the loss of its council president who died after a hunting accident during the opening weekend of the gun-deer hunt.
West Bend city leaders got the call Sunday evening that 65-year-old Steve Hoogester had died in a hunting accident while in northern Door County. He was alderman for District 6.
"That news was tough. It was a rough night. It was hard to comprehend losing a special person," said Alderman John Butschlick from West Bend's District 1.
Butschlick served with Hoogester on West Bend City Council, but their friendship extended beyond the council chambers.
"(He was) one of my colleagues and one of my best friends. I learned everything I know from Steve, and anytime I had any questions or concerns, he was there for me. He was my number one mentor," Butschlick said.
Washington Island police were called to the north end of Washington Island Sunday, Nov. 22, around 5:09 p.m. Police said an investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, revealed the hunter appeared to be exiting a ground blind and accidentally shot himself.
Butschlick and Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann both said they knew Hoogester was a hunter. They say his loss will be felt not just by his family and friends but also in the greater Washington County area.
"He's played many different roles, and in many different ways, we have big shoes to fill," Schoemann said.
Hoogester was also a retired west bend police lieutenant.
His colleagues said they will remember him for his kindness and dedication to his constituents.
"Anytime I needed any anything, he was always there. He said, 'Just a phone call away.' So that's why it was so hard," Butschlick said.
The DNR continues to investigate the incident along with the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office. This incident remains open pending the autopsy report.