A St. Croix County deputy conversed with a suspected drunk driver for several minutes before the suspect abruptly pulled out a gun during the evening of Saturday, May 6, according to the St. Croix County Sheriff.
During a press conference Tuesday, May 9, Sheriff Scott Knudson, said that deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, talked face-to-face with the suspect for eight minutes before she was shot and killed.
The suspect, Jeremiah Daniel Johnson, 34, was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.
On May 6 at approximately 6:15 p.m., Leising was dispatched for a report of a potential drunk driver in a ditch near Glenwood City. A short time later, Leising reported shots fired. She was transported to a local hospital, where she later died.
According to the DCI, Johnson was evasive to Deputy Leising’s requests and after approximately 8 minutes of dialogue, Johnson turned toward Deputy Leising, drew a handgun and shot her. After being struck, Deputy Leising discharged her weapon three times, but none of the rounds hit Johnson before he fled to a nearby wooded area. This incident was captured by Leising’s body camera, according to the DCI.
The occupants of an assisting vehicle immediately began lifesaving measures on Deputy Leising, who was transported to a local hospital where she died.
Additional officers responded and began searching the wooded area near the scene. Approximately an hour after Deputy Leising had been shot, a law enforcement officer observed Johnson, heard a gunshot, and witnessed him collapse to the ground.
Knudson refused to say the suspect’s name during the press conference.
“For reasons that we’ll probably never know, this morally bankrupt and ethically challenged criminal decides to turn and murder Kaitie,” said Knudson.
He said that Leising had been with the department for just a year, but had already made a great impact on the community.
“How she did her job was treating people well. Treating people with dignity,” said Knudson.
Leising, a former Cumberland resident, is the fourth officer killed in the line of duty in Wisconsin this year. Her death comes less than a month after Cameron police officer Hunter Scheel and Chetek police officer Emily Breidenbach were killed during a traffic stop.
“Our law enforcement community is hurting again in this region,” said Knudson. “We’ve been reeling, but our support from the community has been great. The support from the law enforcement community has been amazing.”
Johnson had a criminal record that included careless driving, assault, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, operating while intoxicated, failing to stop for a traffic accident with damage to property and violating a domestic abuse order. He was released from prison in 2021 after serving six years in jail for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman. Johnson had reportedly found the woman unconscious on a sidewalk after a July 4 fireworks display, put her in his truck and drove to his apartment.
DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the St. Croix County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.
A memorial fund for Leising has been established at Westconsin Credit Union.
Funeral services are Friday, May 12, at Hudson High School. Public visitation is 9 a.m. to noon, with police honors to follow in the school parking lot.
Leising is survived by her wife. They also have a 3-month-old son.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.