MILWAUKEE (AP) - Two off-duty police officers have been killed in separate incidents in southeastern Wisconsin, including a Racine officer who tried to stop an armed robbery and a Milwaukee officer who was struck and killed by a speeding driver who ran a red light.
Law enforcement officers stood silently, shoulder to shoulder and saluted as the victims’ bodies arrived in hearses at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office Tuesday morning for autopsies.
Racine police said Officer John Hetland was fatally shot Monday about 9:40 p.m. when he tried to intervene in an armed robbery at Teezers bar, according to a statement from Chief Arthel Howell. Multiple law enforcement agencies searched for the gunman Tuesday.
Hetland was a 24-year veteran of the Racine Police Department, Howell said.
“Officer Hetland was a trusted and highly respected member of the department, serving in various positions over the years, including an assignment as a field training officer, as well as a member of the Greater Racine FBI Gang Task,” the chief said.
D.J. Daams, one of the bar’s owners said police are reviewing surveillance video.
“All I can say is that thoughts and prayers are with the family and that the police have our full cooperation in apprehending this guy. This is a truest heart-breaking situation and John was a hero. If it wasn’t for his heroic act no one can predict the outcome,” Daams said.
In Milwaukee, Chief Alfonso Morales said Officer Kou Her died early Tuesday after leaving work in the city’s 4th District. Her’s vehicle was struck by a speeding driver who ran a red light at a west side intersection about 1:30 a.m., Morales said.
Police arrested a 34-year-old Milwaukee man on probation for his fourth drunken driving conviction.
Alderman Cavalier Johnson represents the neighborhood where the crash occurred.
“I am actually kind of sick to my stomach. That’s an intersection I travel through and that my family travels through,” said Johnson. “It’s sad, it’s tragic and it’s unnecessary. The Milwaukee Police Department has sacrificed so much.”
Her is the fourth Milwaukee police officer to be killed in just over a year.