Wisconsin Teacher Chases Away High School Pranksters With His Flamethrower
Students from Baraboo High school as well as the athletic director were in loads of trouble after a prank went foul.
Athletic director Jim Langkamp along with two other men are charged criminally after they attempted an illegal “citizen’s arrest” and threatened the teenage boys with a flamethrower when they were TPing Wednesday night.
The three men Jim Langkamp, John Kolar, and William Bowden were arrested Thursday, and police recommended charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct, and false imprisonment.
The court granted a temporary restraining order against Langkamp on behalf of one of the boys, with more families requesting restraining orders against him and the other men Friday.
The following narrative is based on multiple reports from the boys involved, the 21-page police report, and a cell phone video captured by a neighbor. (Read the redacted police report here.)
October 5th was the middle of Homecoming week in the town of Baraboo Wisconsin and the teenagers of the town were carrying on the tradition of "TPing," draping toilet paper on houses, trees, and bushes.
Wednesday evening, High School junior John Beaudin was driving himself and his friends to John Kolar's house to TP it. (Kolar's daughter is Beaudin's friend in school.)
The boys then saw Kolar standing on his lawn, dressed in military-style clothing, with a flashlight in one hand and a flamethrower in the other, shooting “enough flame to light up the night sky,” Beaudin said.
Bowden, one of the neighbors, told police the flames shot as far as two feet from the nozzle of the device three different times. Madison365
While Beaudin was driving down the street he quickly tried to turn around at the end of the block but Langkamp and Bowden, who also live on the block, stepped in front of the car to prevent the car from leaving.
Kolar approached the car and ordered the boys to get out. Travon Lawyer, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and another teen in the back passenger side seat, opened their doors and ran. Langkamp briefly chased Lawyer, Lawyer said.
“What if he caught me?” Lawyer said. “What was he going to do?” Madison365
In the video that a neighbor took you can see shining flashlights and hear voices and screaming from the men, the students, and the surrounding neighbors.
Kolar shouted at the boys to “shut the f****** engine off now,” “put the keys where he f****** told you to, mother f******,” “get out of the f****** car” and “get on the f****** ground.”
The two boys in the front seats got out of the car, onto their knees, and put their hands in the air.
“I heard he’d been in the military so I wasn’t sure what kind of authority he had over us,” Lee said.
(Video contains foul language)
Langkamp addressed Beaudin and Lee by name, telling them they were “in big trouble” and that they “smelled like weed.”
The boys deny smoking marijuana and said there was no such aroma about them at the time.
“He just wanted to get us on something,” Lee said.
The boys were told they were being “lawfully detained” in a “citizens arrest” until police arrived.
Citizen’s arrests are not legal in Wisconsin unless the citizen directly witnesses a felony.
Kolar’s daughter came outside and convinced her father to stop yelling and let the boys go. Langkamp told the boys to leave and not come back.
Kolar told police it was Langkamp who stopped the car, and Kolar denied using a flamethrower and denied ordering the boys to their knees. Kolar declined to give police permission to search his garage for the flamethrower.
Ultimately, Kolar, Langkamp and Bowden were all arrested and subsequently released without charges, other than the disorderly conduct citation for Kolar, with a court date scheduled for next month.
The boys told Madison365 they were traumatized by the event.
“It feels like a dream, like you hear about stuff on the news,” Beaudin said. “You never expect it to happen to you.”
“I was scared that they were going to hurt John or me,” Lee said. “It was scary.”
It “doesn’t feel right at all” that neither Langkamp nor Bowden have been charged.
“As somebody who works for the school, you should want to protect the students. “How do you allow one of the neighbors to shoot a flamethrower twice, and then still stop the Jeep? With the guy with the flamethrower not even half a block down from you? How do you stop the Jeep while a dude has a flame thrower right next to the students? I don’t understand how they’d let somebody who would put kids in danger like that come back to the school … Stopping the car is what escalated our lives being in danger because now we can’t run from the dude that has the weapon.”
Beaudin’s mother obtained a restraining order on Langkamp.
Langkamp was not present at any of the Homecoming activities Friday or Saturday. Superintendent Dr. Rainey Briggs told Madison365 that Langkamp is on “non-disciplinary administrative leave” pending the outcome of an internal school district investigation.
Read More Here: Madison365