MILWAUKEE—Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man in the fatal shooting of a Milwaukee police officer.
Jordan P. Fricke, of Milwaukee, was charged on Sunday, Feb. 10, with first-degree intentional homicide and other crimes in the fatal shooting Wednesday, Feb. 6, of 35-year-old Officer Matthew Rittner, who was serving a search warrant. Authorities arrested Fricke soon after the shooting.
Outside @MilwaukeePolice Specialized Patrol Division at 47th and Vilet, a memorial to Police Officer Matthew Rittner is growing. We appreciate deeply everyone who has come by to reflect on what this hero was willing to do for this community. #MPD1286 pic.twitter.com/xyuutoaGxo
— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) 7 februari 2019
Officer Matthew Rittner was a tenured member of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Tactical Enforcement Unit, which was serving a search warrant on someone wanted for illegally selling firearms and drugs, Sgt. Sheronda Grant said in a news release Wednesday night. She said officers announced themselves as police and that the suspect fired several rounds.
Thirty-five-year-old Rittner was struck by gunfire and taken to a hospital, where he died, Grant said.
Fricke remained in jail Sunday. Court records do not list an attorney who could speak for him.
“Officer Rittner is the third officer we have lost in the line of duty during a short eight-month period after going approximately 22 years without a line of duty death,” Grant said on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Officer Matthew Rittner died protecting us — as did Officer Charles Irvine Jr. and Officer Michael Michalski.
— Kasey Chronis (@KaseyChronisTV) 7 februari 2019
Rittner, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, began his career as a police aide in 2001. He was part of a team that helped free hostages on two separate occasions in the same month in 2015.
He and his colleagues confronted a gunman who had tied a man and woman with electrical cords in a basement on Dec. 7, 2015. The gunman had threatened to kill the hostages when police rushed into the basement. The suspect was apprehended and the hostages weren’t harmed.
— Tori Bokios (@toribokios) 7 februari 2019
Then on Dec. 27, 2015, Rittner was part of a team that responded to a hostage situation where a man was holding a woman at gunpoint. The suspect surrendered but officers noticed smoke coming from the home and feared there was a fire. The officers went into the house and found the woman in the bathroom.
The officers received awards for bravery and courage in both cases.
“We need all residents of this community, all residents of this state, to be thankful and appreciative of every single law enforcement official in this state,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters Wednesday.
“I am filled with sorrow over this needless loss and at the same time I am filled with anger at the individual who took the life of this police officer,” Barrett said. The mayor said the officer “was doing his job” and “working to make our city safe” when he was killed.
Experts say serving warrants are dangerous operations for police, primarily because the officers are entering unknown territory. On Monday, Jan. 28, narcotics police officers serving a search warrant on a house in Houston came under fire as soon as they entered the home, and five were hurt. The two suspects were killed.