A Milwaukee police officer was shot and wounded early Sunday morning after a gunman attacked him while the officer was sitting in his squad car. The suspect in the shooting killed himself with a gunshot to the head. He has yet to be identified.
The suspected shooter, identified by police as a 20 year-old West Allis man with two felonies on record, was later found dead in his yard.
Officer Brandon Baranowski, 31, was sitting in his squad car after police were called to the south side of the city for calls regarding domestic violence incidents, the Milwaukee Police Department said in a statement.
Baranowski, who has served the department for 13 years, was about to leave around 2 a.m. local time when a man walked up to his car and fired multiple shots into the car, police said.
Baranowski was struck in the arm and his bulletproof vest. He was later taken to Froedtert Hospital for surgery where Milwaukee police Sergeant Tim Gauerke said the injuries were not life threatening.
According to Asst. Police Chief William Jessup, Baranowski’s bulletproof vest saved his life, he explained at a Sunday Homicide Review Commission conference.
Roughly 30 minutes after the shooting, officers nearby heard the sound of a gunshot and found the body of the suspect in a nearby yard. According to the police, the suspect shot himself in the head twice and was responsible for both the shooting and the two domestic violence calls.
The suspect’s uncle released a statement to local media following the shooting:
“This terrible tragedy is not the result of any movement, political agenda, race or gender. It is the result of a young man who was suffering from profound emotional distress. His mother and family members were working diligently to identify resources and get them into place. Sadly our efforts were not in enough time. We are deeply saddened by his desperate and misguided actions and would like to express our most heartfelt apologies to Officer Brandon Baranowski and his entire family as a result of this tragic incident. We would like to thank the entire Milwaukee Police Department for their efforts to perform life saving measures and their efforts to protect and serve in our community. He was a loving father, son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, and friend and he will be profoundly missed. The family is asking that you respect our privacy while we grieve the loss of our dear loved one.”
Jessup said at a press conference that the shooting is “just another example of the risks our officers take each and every day to protect these citizens.”
Following the shooting, Milwaukee police officers have been instructed to respond to phone calls in two person teams until further notice.