Portage homicide suspect surrenders; police say drug-involved ki - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Portage homicide suspect surrenders; police say drug-involved killing

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PORTAGE (WKOW) -- Authorities say a suspect in a Portage homicide surrendered Monday in Madison, as investigators say drugs played a role in the fatal violence.

Officials say 24-year old Mario Brown, Jr. turned himself in, after Brown's connection to a community program for re-integration of former inmates helped Madison Police close-in on him.

Portage Police officials identify the victim of Sunday's fatal shooting as 22-year old Jason Laack of Rio.

Authorities say Laack was killed, as he visited a family member at the Cattail Lodge in the 17-hundred block of Highway 51.

Portage Police Lieutenant Daniel Garrigan says Brown and another, unidentified man took off in a car after Laack's shooting.  Garrigan says a dispute over drugs precipitated the gun shots.  "I think many times we hear, in terms of 'drug deal gone bad,'  Garrigan says.  "I think that this would certainly fit into that category."

Laack's sister, Katti Laack, must mourn her brother's death from jail.  Authorities say Katti Laack was taken into custody in connection to the law enforcement response to the shooting, and jailed on a suspected, probation violation.

Garrigan says authorities continue to try to identify and find the other man.  He says no gun has been recovered, but evidence seized from the scene of the homicide, support the killing's connection to illegal drugs.


UPDATE (WKOW) --- Portage Police have identified the victim as 22-year-old Jason W. Laack of Rio.

We are continuing to follow the homicide investigation and will have more on 27 News at 5 & 6.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Portage Police have posted on their Facebook page they now have Mario F. Brown, Jr. in custody.  Madison police spokesperson, Joel DeSpain, says Brown turned himself into the South District Monday morning.  Police are still trying to identify and locate the other suspect.  No further information has been released.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- The shooting at Cattail Lodge in Portage is being investigated as a homicide.

Police say that three people were threatened by two men with guns. One of the three people was shot and died at the scene. The victim is not being identified until family is notified.

Police are searching for two suspects in the incident. One is Mario F. Brown Jr. of the Madison/Middleton area and the other is an African American man in his early 20s described as being between 5'6" and 5'9" with short dreadlocks. Both men are considered armed and dangerous. 

The Portage Police Department is investigating. Anyone with information on the shooting is encouraged to contact the police department at (608) 742-2714 or Columbia County Crime Stoppers at (800) 293-8477. Tips can also be submitted electronically through Facebook or webpage via www.co.columbia.wi.us or by texting the word CRIMES (274637) with the keyword "TIPCOSO."  Callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Authorities confirm the shooting happened at Cattail Lodge on New Pinery Road in Portage. No one has been taken into custody as of 10:45 p.m. but a number of police cars have left the scene at the hotel. 


PORTAGE (WKOW) -- Authorities are searching for a man believed to be involved in a shooting in Portage.

According to Portage Police Lt. Det. Dan Garrigan, police are involved in an active situation right now in Portage after a shooting that happened just before 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Police declined to elaborate on an exact location of the shooting and have not said whether anyone was hurt.

Right now, police are looking for an African American man who goes by the name Mario Brown. He's believed to be in an older model, tan car, possibly headed to the Madison area. He is considered armed and dangerous so anyone who encounters him should not attempt to make contact.

Call Columbia County or Dane County authorities with any information.

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