Milwaukee is mourning the loss of an officer, veteran, husband, and father who was killed in the line of fire.
Matthew Rittner, 35, served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afganistan, surviving a four-hour firefight and multiple IED attacks before returning home to start a family.
Rittner enlisted in the US Marine corps two years after graduating from high school WLSN reports. He was an officer with the Milwaukee Police Department for 17 years, receiving a Merit Award in 2015 for his actions during a home invasion and hostage situation.
An armed robber had another man and a woman tied up with electrical cords in the basement. Rittner and his fellow officers rescued the couple, and took their assailant into custody.
The Fox Company, with which Rittner served with in the Middle East, posted a moving tribute to the fallen officer on Facebook.
“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 said. “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.”
Rittner was conducting a search warrant on a suspect wanted for illegally selling firearms and drugs, WBAY reports. The suspect fired several rounds in the altercation, leaving Rittner mortally wounded.
He was taken to a hospital where he later died.
A 26-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested in connection with the crime.
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“Officer Rittner was 35 years old. He began his career as a police aide in 2001 and had dedicated 17 years of his life to the Milwaukee Police Department and to the City of Milwaukee,” the police department released in a statement “He was a tenured member of the Tactical Enforcement Unit and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Officer Rittner is a beloved member of our agency and has received a number of medals and awards.
“As we mourn the loss of Officer Rittner, please keep his family, his friends, and members of the Milwaukee Police Department in your prayers.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.