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Petarius sentenced to six years prison for shooting at ex-wife, cops

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A former clown will spend six years in prison for shooting at his ex-wife, and at Waukesha police officers who responded. 

77-year-old Richard Petarius had pleaded guilty to five felony charges including reckless endangerment and false imprisonment. His most serious original charge of attempted homicide was dropped in a plea deal. 

Petarius was a Tripoli Shrine clown in 2008. 

Authorities said he shot at his wife Phyllis in her condominium in October of last year. An officer was interviewing the victim when Petarius emerged and pointed a gun. 

The defendant and two officers briefly exchanged gunfire. No one was hurt. 

Phyllis Petarius had a broken arm and minor arm injuries after her ex-husband pushed her onto a concrete garage floor.

He was under a restraining order to stay away from his ex-wife at the time. That triggered a lot of publicity for the incident, since it came two days after Radcliffe Haughton killed his wife, two other women, and himself at a Brookfield spa after he violated a similar restraining order.