A Milwaukee police officer was shot dead in the line of duty Wednesday morning while executing a search warrant, officials said.
The slain officer is the third Milwaukee police officer to die in the line of duty in the past eight months, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said at a news conference.
The officer, who was identified Wednesday night as 35-year-old Matthew Rittner, was a 17-year veteran of the department, said Milwaukee Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson.
Rittner, who won the Medal of Valor in 2016, is survived by his wife and young son, police said
“I am filled with sorrow over this needless loss,” Barrett said, as well as “anger for the individual who took the life of this brave officer.”
Police were executing a search warrant at 9:17 a.m. Wednesday for illegal sales of firearms and drugs, officials said.
While carrying out the warrant, officers announced themselves numerous times. As they attempted to open the door, shots were fired, police said.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in blue. We are with you during this difficult time.
— Milwaukee FD (@MilFireDept) February 6, 2019
Barrett reminded residents to be thankful and appreciative for all law enforcement officers in the state who “put their lives on the line every single day for us.”
Brunson called this an “extremely difficult time” and said the department is asking for prayers.
The suspect was identified Wednesday night as 26-year-old Jordan Fricke from Milwaukee, Brunson said, adding that Fricke was the subject of the search warrant.
Among those offering condolences were fellow Milwaukee first responders at the FBI’s Milwaukee field office and the city’s fire department.