Milwaukee officer is department’s 3rd line-of-duty death since June
The Milwaukee Police Department has identified the officer killed serving a warrant this week — its third slain on duty in the last eight months.
Matthew Rittner, 35, was a husband and father of one who was with the Milwaukee police for 17 years, the department said.
Rittner was serving a warrant for drug and gun sales Wednesday in the Polonia neighborhood on the city’s south side when a suspect opened fire, hitting the officer.
He was rushed to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he later died, police said.
Rittner had long been on the department’s tactical enforcement unit, which handles high-risk warrants such as the one officers were serving in Polonia.
“Officer Rittner is a beloved member of our agency and has received a number of medals and awards,” Milwaukee police said in a release.
The unit arrested Jordan Fricke, 25, and “utilized tremendous restraint during the suspect’s apprehension, which is a true testament to the character and professionalism of the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department,” the release said.
In July, Milwaukee police lost another 17-year veteran, Michael Michalski, 52, a member of the special investigations unit who was killed while trying to arrest a suspect on drug and gun charges.
“When officers entered the home, the suspect fired multiple times at officers. They returned fire and ultimately took the suspect into custody,” Milwaukee police Chief Alfonso Morales said at the time.
Michalski left behind a wife and three children. His death came just weeks after Officer Chuckie Irvine Jr., 23, died when his squad car rolled as he pursued a reckless driver, CNN affiliate WISN reported.
“Chuckie was an honorable police officer that at a young age, early in his career, had already been affecting lives to the positive,” Mike Crivello, then president of the Milwaukee Police Association, said during his funeral. “He embraced his vocation, his calling, with an undeniable professional caring persona well beyond his years.”
Before Irvine’s death, the department had gone 22 years without losing an officer in the line of duty.