St. Croix County deputy shot and killed identified

St. Croix County sheriff’s deputy killed in line of duty

St. Croix County sheriff's deputy killed in line of duty

Authorities say a western Wisconsin deputy was shot and killed while responding to a report of a drunk driver in a ditch Saturday night near Glenwood, Wisconsin.

Around 6:15 p.m., Deputy Kaitie Leising responded to the scene near the intersection of Highway 128 and County Road G. There, she encountered a car in a ditch and another vehicle with people who had pulled over to assist.

Leising, 29, asked the driver of the car in the ditch, 34-year-old Jeremiah Johnson, to perform a field sobriety test, but he was “evasive,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a news release. Leising spoke with Johnson for roughly eight minutes before he pulled out a handgun and shot her; Leising fired three rounds back at him, but they all missed.

The good Samaritans who had pulled over tried to save Leising’s life, but she was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the Wisconsin DOJ.

Officers searched the surrounding woods for the suspect, and about an hour after Leising was shot, an officer saw Johnson, heard a gunshot and saw him fall to the ground. Johnson was found with a handgun next to him, and no officers fired their weapons while searching for him, the DOJ said.

Leising joined the St. Croix Sheriff’s Office in 2022 and had previously served two years with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota.

Around 2 a.m. Sunday, several law enforcement vehicles were seen in a procession heading to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul.

Sunday afternoon, another law enforcement procession escorted Leising’s remains back from Minnesota to O’Connell Funeral Home in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Dozens of squad cars were waiting for her to arrive, and an American flag was hoisted from a ladder truck in her honor.

The mayor of Glenwood, Wisconsin, who is also a Wisconsin State Patrol sergeant, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he immediately responded to assist on Saturday.

“I was working in my garage, and my lieutenant advised me of the situation. And I said, ‘Say no more,'” Glenwood Mayor Robert Unruh said. “Got dressed, got my gear, and I live less a mile from where this went down. And I just responded and assisted as I could.”

While Unruh didn’t personally know Leising, he said this tragedy hits close to home.

Sunday afternoon, Unruh was with his wife and kids adorning Glenwood City with blue ribbons, a show of support for the St. Croix Sheriff’s Office.

“For support and to show them that, obviously, we’re lost but not forgotten,” he said.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is taking the lead on the investigation and will turn over its report to the St. Croix County District Attorney when the investigation is finished, according to the Wisconsin DOJ.

Deputy Leising’s body camera recorded the exchange of gunfire, the DOJ said.

This is the third incident within the past month where a law enforcement officer died in the line of duty in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Almost exactly a month earlier, two officers, one from Chetek and another from Cameron, were shot and killed in nearby Barron County, Wisconsin. The suspect also died in the shootout.

A week after that, in Minnesota, a Pope County deputy was shot and killed while responding to a domestic call. The man who opened fire was killed by officers.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.