Man who killed Wisconsin deputy was a Minnesota felon with kidnapping, sexual assault convictions

Leising was the fourth officer killed in Wisconsin this year, making 2023 the deadliest year for Wisconsin police in 20 years. 

deputy
Jeremiah D. Johnson/Minnesota Department of Corrections

The suspect in Saturday’s murder of a Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy was a Minnesota felon on probation for kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, responded to a drunk driver in a ditch around 6:15 p.m. May 6.

She found the driver of the vehicle, Jeremiah D. Johnson, 34, in a ditch along with another car that stopped to help. Johnson refused to participate in field sobriety tests, eventually drawing a handgun and shooting Leising.

Deputy Kaitie Leising/Wisconsin Department of Justice

Leising returned fire but none of her rounds struck Johnson, who fled to a nearby wooded area and killed himself.

At the time of the incident, Johnson was on probation for a 2015 kidnapping and sexual assault.

Charges in the case say St. Paul police responded on July 5, 2015, to reports of a drunk woman lying on a sidewalk who was unable to provide her name, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Witnesses observed Johnson pick the woman up, put her in his pickup truck, and drive away. Police later located Johnson’s vehicle outside his Stillwater residence, where the victim was found in the hallway of the apartment complex.

She told police she woke up on an air mattress in just her bra and underwear next to a man she didn’t know. She said she “blacked out” and “something may have happened.”

The victim was examined at a hospital where doctors found signs of sexual assault.

Johnson at first denied having any sexual contact with the victim but then admitted he “tried to do a little something, but it didn’t work.”

“Say we did have sex, she is 18, and there is nothing illegal about that,” he told police.

Johnson was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released from prison and placed on supervised release in October 2019, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

Johnson also had prior convictions for aggravated assault and drunk driving.

Leising was the fourth officer killed in Wisconsin this year, making 2023 the deadliest year for Wisconsin police in 20 years. Leising’s funeral will take place Friday at Hudson High School.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.