Racine, Wisconsin, Police Officer John Hetland is dead after intervening during an armed robbery at a restaurant Monday night, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Hetland was inside Teezers Bar and Grill when the incident occurred, according to the Journal Sentinel.
The masked suspect reportedly entered the bar and attempted the robbery. One of the bar’s owners said that the suspect fired his weapon and fled after a struggle. D.J. Daams, one of the bar’s co-owners, said that the suspect attempted to rob the bar, but “when confronted, he wrestled with the good Samaritan and got free. At which time he fired shots and ran at the back door.”
Hetland sustained a single, fatal gunshot wound, the paper reported.
In a news release, Racine Police Chief Arthel L. Howell said that Hetland, a 24-year department veteran, “took immediate action to stop this felony in progress in order to protect life and property.”
“It is with profound sadness and grief we announce the line of duty death,” he continued.
“Officer Hetland was a trusted and highly respected member of the department, serving in various positions over the years, including an assignment as a field training officer, as well as a member of the Greater Racine FBI Gang Task Force,” Howell added.
Bar co-owner Daams said he is grateful for the officer’s heroic actions.
“All I can say is that thoughts and prayers are with the family, and that the police have our full cooperation in apprehending this guy,” he said. “This is a truest heart-breaking situation, and John was a hero. If it wasn’t for his heroic act, no one can predict the outcome.”
No arrests have been made at the time of this writing, but those people with any information are asked to contact the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department at (262) 656-1234. Citizens may also contact Crime Stoppers at (262) 636-9330 or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text messages should begin with RACS, according to the Journal Sentinel.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the robbery suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, standing approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall. The suspect was wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt and black bandanna.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident, along with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department, the State of Wisconsin Crime Laboratory, and the Wisconsin State Patrol.