MILWAUKEE (AP) — A domestic violence suspect opened fire on a Milwaukee police officer who was sitting in his squad car early Sunday, seriously wounding him before fleeing and apparently killing himself shortly afterward, authorities said.
The shooting, coming the same day that three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, prompted the Milwaukee Police Department to send all officers out in two-person squad teams, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
All seven police districts were told to use two-person squads "effective immediately and until further notice," Assistant Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup said at an afternoon news conference.
The suspect, a 20-year-old man from the suburb of West Allis, had two felonies on his arrest record, said police spokesman Sgt. Tim Gauerke, who did not disclose the man's name. The 31-year-old officer, identified by authorities as Brandon Baranowski, was taken to a hospital with serious wounds that weren't considered life-threatening, he said.
Jessup called Baranowski "a very dedicated and hardworking employee" who was "doing his best to provide safety to a woman and child in the middle of a domestic violence situation."
Baranowski, a 13-year police veteran, was wearing body armor that protected him from the chest shots, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. The officer will "most likely" have surgery in the next day or two, Barrett said.
"This is just another example of the risks our officers take each and every day to protect these citizens," Jessup said earlier.
Officers responded to several calls in the 3500 block of South 17th Street early Sunday, including two domestic violence-related calls in which the suspect was no longer there when the officers arrived, Gauerke said.
The officer was sitting in his squad car conducting the investigation at about 2 a.m. when a suspect approached on foot and fired at the officer, striking him several times, Gauerke said. About a half-hour later, officers heard a nearby gunshot and found a man who had apparently shot himself in the head, killing himself.
Investigators believe the dead man was the suspect in the domestic violence incidents and the person who shot the officer, Gaurke said.
At a morning news conference, Jessup said he did not know if there was any video evidence from the squad car's dashboard camera or the officer's body camera, WISN-TV reported.
The Milwaukee Police Association asked for routine two-officer teams after the shooting. "Two-man Squads are essential in the ever changing high-risk environment," the organization said in a statement on its Facebook page.
"I don't think that the fact that they (police) were in one-man squads with two officers on the scene would've changed the outcome," Jessup said. "But certainty the officers, I think, at this moment in time looking at the incidents in Baton Rouge and in the City of Milwaukee, will feel more comfortable in two-person teams."