(Law Officer) — A deputy in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, was shot and killed on Saturday night while conducting a DUI investigation after a driver drove into a ditch, according to reports.
Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, responded to the scene of the car crash in the small town of Glenwood, Wisconsin, at about 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. The driver lost control of his vehicle and wound up in a ditch near the intersection of Highway 128 and County Road G, reported KSTP-TV.
Upon arrival she encountered the driver, identified as 34-year-old Jeremiah D. Johnson. Another vehicle had previously stopped to assist Johnson before Deputy Leising arrived on scene, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Deputy Leising began to conduct a DUI investigation as she asked Johnson to perform a series of field sobriety tests before returning to his vehicle. However, he became resistant to her requests. About eight minutes transpired when Johnson turned toward the deputy, drew a handgun and shot her, the DOJ said in a press release.
The interaction and subsequent homicide of Leising was reportedly captured on bodycam video, which showed the deputy returning fire with three rounds but missing Johnson before he fled into a wooded area, the press release noted.
The individuals who previously stopped to assist Johnson began lifesaving measures on Deputy Leising. She was subsequently transported to a nearby hospital, but did not survive, Fox News Digital reported.
Responding law enforcement personnel searched the woods near the scene. Nearly an hour after Leising was shot, an officer located Johnson, heard a single gunshot, and watched him fall to the ground, Fox News reported. Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene and police recovered a firearm next to him.
No law enforcement personnel fired their weapons during the search for Johnson, the DOJ confirmed, inferring the suspect died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson announced on Sunday that Deputy Leising was killed during the encounter.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, several law enforcement vehicles were seen in a procession heading to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul.
Massive Law Enforcement procession in MN for the Officer killed in Wisconsin tonight. pic.twitter.com/qtrkQ7RuRq
— Markie Kelly (@MarcTwinCities) May 7, 2023
Sunday afternoon, another law enforcement procession escorted Leising’s remains back from Minnesota to O’Connell Funeral Home in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Dozens of patrol units were waiting for her to arrive, and an American flag was hoisted from a fire department ladder truck in her honor.
Sheriff Knudson said Deputy Leising began serving with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in 2022. Prior to joining the agency she worked with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota for about two years.
“Our love and condolences go out to the family of Kaitie Leising and all those with whom she served,” Sheriff Knudson said. “We, as a law enforcement family, will do everything possible to continue to provide support and comfort to her family. We will miss her infectious smile and personality. She will be missed by all she touched.”
The mayor of Glenwood, who is also a Wisconsin State Patrol sergeant, told KSTP-TV he immediately responded to assist on Saturday.
“I was working in my garage, and my lieutenant advised me of the situation. And I said, ‘Say no more,’” Glenwood Mayor Robert Unruh said. “Got dressed, got my gear, and I live less a mile from where this went down. And I just responded and assisted as I could.”
The Division of Criminal Justice with the Wisconsin DOJ is leading the investigation, along with the assistance of neighboring law enforcement agencies, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab.