Suspect Charged in Fatal Shooting of Milwaukee Officer

By The Associated Press

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.

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.

Milwaukee Police officer shot
Hundreds of police officers fill in the back entrance to the Medical Examiner’s office and salute while the casket is moved from the hearse in Milwaukee, on Feb. 6, 2019. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

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.

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.

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.

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Timothy Nelson, of Oak Creek, Wis., places small flags in a bouquet near a squad car adorned with flowers as a memorial for fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner at the Neighborhood Task Force police building in Milwaukee on Feb. 7, 2019. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

“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.