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Court: Widow of slain FDL cop can't collect damages from shooter

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - The widow of a slain Fond du Lac police officer cannot collect damages from the shooter's insurance company. 

A state appeals court in Waukesha ruled Wednesday that 30-year-old James Cruckson shot and killed officer Craig Birkholz on purpose -- and not by accident, as the officer's widow Ashley had claimed. 

Cruckson had an insurance policy which covered accidental deaths and damages, but a circuit judge ruled that the policy does not pay damages Cruckson caused intentionally. 

Cruckson sprayed bullets as police officers were arriving at his girlfriend's home.  They were called after being told that Cruckson molested his girlfriend and refused to return her six-year-old daughter. 

Ashley Birkholz said it was still dark on the morning it happened. She also said Cruckson had no reason to hurt the arriving officers. 

The Second District Court of Appeals agreed with the original judge's ruling, and said Cruckson's actions were intentional. Birkholz was killed. Fond du Lac officer Ryan Williams and his police dog Grendel were both injured. 

Cruckson later killed himself during a police standoff.

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