RIDGEWAY (WKOW) -- Perhaps the last person to see Charles Witzel before Witzel allegedly began a shooting spree was his roommate, Josh Kahl.
"He didn't communicate a whole lot about what was going on in his head," Kahl told 27 News during an interview in Uncle Milt's, a Ridgeway tavern where both Kahl and Witzel are regular customers.
After the first of Witzel's two alleged shooting episodes, Kahl said he never returned to their rented Sauk County farmhouse in Loganville. Kahl said his emotions were mixed at the time about the roommate he considered a friend, and Witzel's alleged violence in Cross Plains, in which Witzel's acquaintance, Craig Severson was killed and Severson's fiance was wounded.
"Law enforcement was concerned about me and kept me well informed," Kahl told 27 News.
As Kahl spoke with 27 News, he at times conveyed respect for Witzel, but also fear, and betrayed a tinge of guilt, although insisting he did not know of any plans of violence on the part of his roommate. Witzel borrowed Kahl's pick up truck on the morning of the first shooting, but Kahl said Witzel's own truck was being serviced and nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
"If I would have known, I would have said something. If something would have tipped me off, that this is what he was going to do, I know I would have said something. I couldn't sit here with a clear conscience, if I could have known that."
Kahl avoided questions about Witzel's purchase of a handgun at a Wisconsin Dells gun show the day before the first killing. Court documents state Kahl accompanied Witzel to that show.
Bar owner John Green said he has known Witzel for about ten years. Green said Witzel was never a problem in his bar, but said he was somewhat leary of Witzel.
"Every place he went, he had a gun," Green told 27 News. Green also said he warned Severson if Witzel ever discovered Severson had been involved with Witzel's former girlfriend while Witzel dated her, Witzel would kill him.
"He snapped," Green said. "That's no excuse for it, but he snapped."
Green said authorities should have insisted the victims of Witzel's alleged second shooting episode, Craig and Casey Finley, leave their home while Witzel was a fugitive. Witzel's former girlfriend had been living there, but left as a security precaution.
Kahl said authorities underestimated Witzel's cunning.
"He was able to elude quite abit of law enforcement," Kahl told 27 News.
"You've got a criminal mind like that, he obviously knows how to deal with authorities. I don't think this was his first rodeo."