Gregory Habersat, a combat veteran, loaded a rifle and fired six shots in the air Friday, June 24, outside his Newhall Avenue apartment, where police later found him laying under his truck with his rifle nearby, according to a criminal complaint.
Habersat, 30, of Waukesha told officers a fireworks barrage that night had spooked him and he was 'freaking out' like he was back in Afghanistan, the complaint said.
Habersat was charged Monday, June 27, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with three misdemeanor offenses: possession of a firearm while intoxicated, pointing a firearm at a person and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building.
According to the complaint, Habersat suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and had been drinking the night of the incident.
Triggering bad memories
A fireworks display around 9:15 p.m. June 24 reportedly sparked the incident.
Habersat told police in the complaint that 'everything went downhill' when he started hearing fireworks exploding, which to him sounded like gunshots he heard while deployed overseas.
A woman who called herself Habersat's girlfriend said that once the fireworks started Habersat became 'very agitated and scared,' according to the complaint.
He allegedly smashed a beer bottle on the ground then walked inside his apartment and grabbed a 30.06 caliber rifle. While he was loading it, the complaint said, he was pointing it at his girlfriend who fled in her car.
She later told police in the complaint that Habersat told her to 'get the cops because he was freaking out.'
Drinking also a factor
According to the complaint, Habersat told officers he had a 'good buzz going' before he started shooting.
Precise accounts about how much he drank differ in the complaint, but Habersat allegedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 — nearly twice the standard considered legal proof of intoxication in Wisconsin — when he was arrested.
Habersat told police in the complaint that after grabbing his rifle and ammunition, he sat down near his truck, which he thought was about 50 feet to 60 feet away from his apartment, and fired his rifle into the air.
Habersat's wife, Barbara, reportedly called police to report the incident.
Next court date
Online court records indicate Habersat made his initial court appearance the same day he was charged. He pleaded not guilty to all three offenses.
He was released on a $5,000 signature bond Tuesday, June 28, on conditions that he maintain absolute sobriety and not possess any knives, weapons or firearms.
His next hearing is scheduled for July 13. Habersat is facing up to more than two years in jail and $30,000 in fines if convicted on all counts.