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Wisconsin deputy shot and killed by alleged drunk driver

Police car lights. (Dan Scanlan/Florida Times-Union/TNS)
September 02, 2023

A man fatally shot 29-year-old Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising earlier this year during a routine traffic stop before shooting himself.

Authorities in St. Croix, Wisconsin, say 34-year-old Jeremiah D. Johnson was the driver approached by Leising around 6:15 p.m. on May 5. Johnson’s vehicle was stopped in a ditch and had attracted bystanders who were attempting to aid him. 

According to a Wisconsin Department of Justice press release, Johnson refused to respond to Leising’s requests that he participate in field sobriety tests. Following approximately eight minutes of conversation, Johnson drew a handgun and shot Leising. 

Leising returned fire but was unable to make contact with Johnson, who fled the scene on foot. Bystanders attempted to perform lifesaving measures on Leising, who was transported to the hospital and later died from her injuries. 

Johnson was located in a wooded area, where he fatally shot himself as law enforcement officers approached. 

According to the news site Heavy, Johnson was under community supervision following his release from prison in late 2019, stemming from an arrest and conviction for sexual offenses in 2015. 

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In April, Cameron police officer Hunter Scheel, 23, and Chetek police officer Emily Breidenback, 32, were fatally shot during a traffic stop.

The tragedies prompted a crowd of people to gather on the 11th Street Bridge in a show of support and respect as Leising’s body was transported by police procession from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office to be prepared for funeral services. 

Leising had been a member of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office for approximately one year. Previously, she had served at the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota. 

St. Croix County Sherriff Scot Knudson posted a press release to the department’s Facebook page expressing his grief at the loss of one of his deputies. 

“Our love and condolences go out to the family of Kaitie Leising and all those with whom she served. 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 release read.