A Milwaukee police officer was shot and killed on the city's south side early Tuesday while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect.
The officer had been chasing after, and exchanged gunfire with, a 19-year-old man who was also shot and killed after a physical struggle, Chief Jeffrey Norman said, although it was unclear as of 7 a.m. whether or not his injuries were self-inflicted.
"Milwaukee, our hearts are heavy," Norman said, at times appearing emotional during a brief press conference near the scene. "One of our finest, who put on that uniform, put on that badge, went into work last night and paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our community.
"Milwaukee, we need your prayers, we need your support. To the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, I see you. I am proud of you. The work you do does not go unnoticed. This is a time to lean in and do the work in our community. The violence needs to stop."
Norman said the officer is a 37-year-old with four years of experience. He was one of multiple District Four officers who at 1:16 a.m. responded to the area of 2700 block of South 14th Street to check for a man wanted in connection with a robbery that occurred Monday at 11:25 p.m. on the 3600 block of West Good Hope Road.
Officers encountered a man who ignored their commands and fled on foot, Norman said. Police gave chase and caught up with him, where a struggle ensued.
The suspect fired shots from a handgun, striking the officer. The officer also discharged his weapon. He later died at a hospital, while the other man died at the scene, Norman said.
The investigation into the incident is being led by the Brookfield Police Department.
Norman was joined at the scene by Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Common Council President Jose Perez. They expressed condolences to the family and coworkers of the officer, but emphasized the role that average community members play in public safety.
"It's on all of us to make sure that individuals who are out there, who would cause incidents like this - death, harm and destruction - that we keep an eye on them, that we inform them that they should put their guns down," Johnson said. "We need you to speak up, we need you to be engaged."
Perez, who lives within walking distance of the shooting scene, said the neighborhoods nearby are filled with hardworking residents.
"You're going to hear this message often: it's up to all of us," he said. "Every one of us. Priests, pastors, fathers, mothers. We need to continue to come together. We can do better. We deserve better and it's up to us. We need peace in our community."
Fifth line of duty death in Milwaukee since 2018
The incident is the Police Department's first death in the line of duty since four officers died in such a manner between 2018 and 2019, according to the Milwaukee Police Historical Society.
In February 2018, Officer Michael Michalski, 52, was shot and killed while trying to arrest a man wanted on drug and domestic violence offenses. In June of that year, Officer Charles G. Irvine Jr., 23, was killed in a crash during a car chase on Milwaukee's northwest side.
Their deaths were the department's first in the line of duty since 1996.
In February 2019, Officer Matthew Rittner, 35, was shot and killed while the department's Tactical Enforcement Unit attempted to serve a search warrant for an investigation involving the sale of firearms and drugs.
That same year, Officer Mark Lentz, 56, died from injuries he suffered from a 2017 incident in which his police motorcycle was struck by a vehicle from behind as he attempted to stop another car.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.
Contact Elliot Hughes at email@example.com or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee police officer shot, killed on south side