LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)-- John Brinckman was a longtime friend of Paul Petras, who was shot and killed Saturday inside May's Photo. Brinckman spoke with News 19 about Paul and about the technology Paul had in his camera shop that may provide key evidence in the investigation.
"He was just fun to be around," Brinckman said. "He used to have a party when the Blue Angels or whomever came to town, and we'd sit in his backyard and the jets would just come flying by, and Paul would be back there laughing and we'd just be having a good time."
Brinckman says first and foremost Paul was a family man.
"He was very proud of his family."
Paul and his 19-year-old son A.J., who was also shot and killed Saturday, worked side by side at May's photo; a shop mean to be passed from father to son.
"AJ was thoroughly knowledgeable," Brinckman said. "And it appeared to me that he was a natural to take over the business."
Now, the business has turned in to a crime scene, but Paul and A.J.'s love and knowledge of cameras may give investigators vital leads.
"He [Paul] was proud that he had some of the most sophisticated surveillance equipment around," Brinckman said. "I know that because I came into his store many times. Paul and I would sit and chat for half an hour and we'd sit in the back room, and he'd have his camera right there and he could see what was going on."
According to Brinckman, who is also a criminal attorney, the state of the art system is digital and records 24 hours a day, unless the shooter tampered with it. But even if the person tampered with the cameras, that could be valuable information for police.
"If the perpetrator knew enough to turn off that off or erase things, that should give some leads as to what type of a person or how close to knowing and understanding the business," Brinckman said.
Though there are still many questions to be answered, Brinckman says in his mind, it is unlikely these homicides were a random crime.
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