A heroic Milwaukee Police Officer was shot and killed early this morning on the city’s south side during a foot chase involving a robbery suspect, Terrell Thompson, who, Wisconsin Right Now has learned, was just in court YESTERDAY on a hit-and-run conviction but was given ONLY PROBATION by a Milwaukee County Judge despite numerous failures to show up for court.
A plea bargain with DA John Chisholm’s office tossed one charge on Feb. 6, 2023, at the court appearance, which occurred just hours before Thompson murdered the officer on the south side.
The suspect posted a picture of a firearm, as well as cash and watches, on his Twitter page, according to a law enforcement source:
“He should still be alive! Milwaukee District attorneys and judges once again have FAILED US,” an upset source told Wisconsin Right Now, echoing the sentiments of many as Milwaukee police deal with a depleted force, weak judges, court backlogs, skyrocketing homicide rates, and the cumbersome Collins Agreement, which has stalled proactive police work.
The officer’s death occurred just an hour after the anniversary of the death of Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner, who died on February 6, 2019.
A second charge of hit-and-run was dismissed and read in at sentencing just hours before Thompson murdered the officer, records obtained by Wisconsin Right Now show. “Defendant Terrell I Thompson in court. Attorney Christopher John Ertl in court for Terrell I Thompson. Attorney Nate McClure in court for State of Wisconsin. Pursuant to plea negotiations on 21CT944 and on motion of State, Court ordered case dismissed,” court records say. He was given signature bonds in both cases that remained even when he repeatedly didn’t show up for court.
The Milwaukee Police Association released a statement:
This loss of life was avoidable and only occurred because of the actions of one truly evil individual. This individual chose to fire several rounds at officers with complete disregard for their lives. He did not care about the consequences of his actions, including the immeasurable harm his actions would do to the officer’s family, colleagues, and friends. Not to mention the community as a whole. He chose to disregard the sanctity of human life, all in a vain, self-serving attempt to evade lawful arrest. As we now know, his choice directly caused his death, which is tragic but was 100% his own fault and avoidable.
Because of his selfish and needless actions, a father and mother will be burying their son, fellow officers will miss the laughter and joy the fallen officer brought to them, and the community suffers through another senseless loss of a dedicated public servant who wanted nothing more, from a young age, to do this job and help people. Left in the wake of this tragedy are countless more, to include his partner that day, who is now left with indescribable grief and guilt wondering if there was anything they could have done differently to save his life, even though we know there was not. The actions of one individual have now caused unimaginable pain to so many.
As we go through the next couple of weeks, we ask for your thoughts and prayers for the family, colleagues, and friends of our officers. We will look forward to celebrating the life of our fallen officer, making sure people know the story of his courageous and selfless act, and how he lived these acts out every day, not just on his last. We will ensure that the sacrifice that our officer made in so many people’s lives is never forgotten. Never.
Terrell Thompson Criminal Complaints
Second complaint is
Police have not released the names of the officer or the suspect. Wisconsin Right Now has learned both and is withholding the officer’s name until the department releases it. When the officer’s name is released we will do a separate tribute story to him. The suspect’s name is Terrell Thompson, 19, according to multiple sources.
The brave officer who died was shot multiple times but managed to shoot the gunman anyway, according to sources.
“Milwaukee our hearts are heavy,” Norman said. “Milwaukee Police Department hearts are heavy. My heart is heavy. 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,” Norman said.
According to records obtained by Wisconsin Right Now:
Terrell Thompson was charged with misdemeanor hit and run on July 12, 2021. That same day he was released on a signature bond by Court Commissioner Katryna Childs Rhodes. He was allowed to appear in court via video. A deferred prosecution hearing was scheduled for April 2022, but that month he did not show up for court. Judge Christopher Dee issued a bench warrant but took no action on his $1,000 signature bond, court records say. That same day Thompson was back in court, and the warrant was canceled.
Court official Susan Roth allowed the signature bond to continue; it was never forfeited. In May 2022, he failed to appear again with no explanation from his attorney, so a warrant was issued.
By August 2022, he was back in court, but the signature bond was allowed to continue with the court official being listed as Chief Judge Mary Triggiano. The case dragged on. He was finally sentenced on February 6, 2023, after entering a plea.
Judge Christopher Dee ordered him to serve 120 days in the House of Correction with Huber privileges but STAYED the sentence and placed him on 12 months probation. A stayed sentence means Terrell Thompson would not have to serve it unless he screwed up again.
Terrell Thompson was ordered to attend driver’s safety classes and maintain absolute sobriety and pay a $300 fine.
At the same time, a second charge of hit and run was dismissed and read in at sentencing.
In a news conference, Chief Jeffrey Norman said that, at 1:16 a.m., Milwaukee police officers responded to the 1700 block of S. 17th Street to check for a suspect in connection with a robbery that occurred along Good Hope Road.
Upon arrival, they located the suspect, who ignored the commands and fled on foot. One officer caught up to the suspect, a struggle ensued, and the suspect used a handgun and shot the officer, Norman said. The officer fired his gun during the exchange, and the suspect was shot, said Norman.
He said the officer was 37 with four years on the job and died of his injuries. He said the suspect was a 19-year-old Milwaukee man who was pronounced deceased at the scene. He said it’s not clear whether the suspect was shot by his own or the officer’s gunfire.
“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 that you do does not go unnoticed and at this time our community needs you. This is a time to lean in and do the work that needs to be done in our community,” said Norman,’
“The violence needs to stop. The violence needs to stop. Everyone has a role in community protection,” Norman said, calling Milwaukee police officers “noble and dedicated.
“Please continue to support them as we try to deal with this unfortunate tragedy,” the chief said.
Judge Dee is a former prosecutor who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Scott Walker.