MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A 37-year-old Milwaukee Police Officer with four years of service was shot and killed Tuesday morning when trying to arrest the suspect of an armed robbery, police say.
The suspect was 19-year-old Terrell I. Thompson, while the officer was Peter Jerving, police confirm.
What we know about Peter Jerving and Terrell Thompson?
Police say Thompson shot the officer while in a struggle with another officer. Police say the officer who was shot fired back. During the exchange, Thompson was also shot. Police say Officer Jerving discharged his firearm, striking Thompson.
Last year, Officer Jerving received an MPDLifesaving Award for heroically providing life-saving care to a shooting victim "during extremely dangerous conditions." Officer Jerving is a lifelong Milwaukee resident.
"As we grieve, please remember Officer Jerving’s smile and positive attitude that would brighten our days and light up a room," MPD said in a statement Tuesday evening. "He was a loving friend, a trusted colleague and an outstanding officer whose passion was to serve as an officer since the young age of 13. We are grateful for every one of our officers who bravely put on the MPD uniform and face the unknown daily. We are proud of your response to this tragedy and recognize how difficult it must be to continue our important work despite just suffering a traumatic loss. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to Officer Jerving’s family and anyone who was impacted by this tragic loss."
The I-Team discovered Thompson has two hit-and-run incidents, one in Brown Deer and one in Milwaukee, and a reckless driving citation on his record. All three happened in 2021.
The first incident happened on Jan. 16, 2021, in Brown Deer, a police report says Thompson hit an SUV near N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Bradley Road and ran from the scene on foot. The vehicle Thompson was driving did not have license plates and crashed into a nearby business. Nearly 20 minutes later, Thompson was arrested.
Then, on July 10, 2021, Thompson ran into two vehicles near N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Congress Street. According to the criminal complaint, Thompson hit two vehicles at the intersection and ran from the scene. He was eventually charged with two counts of hit and run.
On Monday, Thompson was in a Milwaukee County Courtroom for a plea and sentencing hearing for the July incident. He pleaded guilty to one of the hit-and-run charges and had the other charge dismissed. Judge Christopher Dee sentenced Thompson to 120 days in jail at the House of Correction, though the sentence was imposed and stayed meaning Thompson wouldn’t spend any time behind bars. Additionally, Dee sentenced Thompson to 12 months of probation, Drivers Safety Classes, fined him $300, and scheduled a restitution hearing for the victims he struck.
The I-Team acquired Thompson’s pre-trial risk assessment, meant to evaluate the likelihood a defendant would skip court or commit new crimes. Thompson scored in the second lowest categories. Since 2021, the I-Team discovered 200 hit-and-run cases in Milwaukee County. Of the non-felony hit-and-run cases, four served any type of jail time.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, this is pretty standard for non-injury hit-and-run cases. The DA’s Office tells the I-Team, “For someone with no prior record, it would be rare for a person to get jail time for a hit and run causing property damage only. Because the primary issues in these cases are usually restitution and completion of drivers safety courses, it is best accomplished when the offender is under probationary supervision.”
Right now I’m at a press conference for MPD officer who was killed overnight. Officers line up together in front of the station in support of the department. More at 5pm on @tmj4 pic.twitter.com/RtmSWxpjgC— Gideon WVW (@GidTruth) February 7, 2023
What we know about the incident, in which a Milwaukee police officer was shot and killed in
The shooting happened after 1 a.m. near 14th and Cleveland. The police department held a media update following the incident.
Follow TMJ4's continuing coverage of the shooting:
Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said during the press conference that the incident happened after officers attempted to arrest a 19-year-old suspect in an armed robbery.
Watch: Fallen Milwaukee Police officer's procession in Milwaukee
Watch: Memorial for fallen MPD officer at District 4
The robbery happened Monday night on West Good Hope Road, police said.
When chasing the suspect, one of the officers caught up to him, and a struggle ensued. Chief Norman said the suspect used a handgun to shoot an officer.
Officers shot back, and the suspect was struck.
Chief Norman said the officer was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died. The officer was 37 years old and had four years of service with the department.
The suspect died at the scene of the shooting. MPD said it's unclear whether the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or if one of the officers' shots killed him.
Watch: Full press conference from Milwaukee Police
"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. Milwaukee, we need your prayers, we need your support," said Chief Norman.
Norman was emotional while speaking about the incident, and demanded that the violence stop. "The violence needs to stop! Everyone has a role in community protection," he said.
When an officer dies, officers head to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office to send that officer off and protect their fallen brother or sister.
Our crews saw that this morning. Officers surrounded an ambulance as it made its way to the ME's office, and stayed outside the facility for about an hour.
The identity of the officer will be released after the family has been notified. Police said a 'community briefing' overview will be released at a later date with more information.
Chief Norman acknowledged his officers during the press conference, saying, "I see you, I am proud of you. The work that you do does not go unnoticed. At this time, our community needs you. Now is the time to lean in and do the work."
The President of the Milwaukee Police Association, Andrew Wagner, tells WTMJ Radio, "you can definitely see this loss is hitting them [officers] hard. We just came off the anniversary date of Matthew Rittner [MPD officer killed on duty in 2019] we had yesterday and this is yet another tragedy."
As Wagner explained Tuesday morning, Milwaukee police held a procession from the hospital to the medical examiner's office. Officers will be with his body until the burial. From the ME's office to the funeral home, officers will stand guard, until a final resting spot is chosen. "It's a way to honor him and his sacrifice to the community. And the community also shows support and mourns with the officers that are struggling," said Wagner.
Watch: Milwaukee Common Council President José Pérez holds moment of silence for officer
Mayor Cavalier Johnson said during the press conference, "the officer paid the ultimate price his life, in protecting and serving this city. This whole city owes a debt of gratitude to that officer, his partner and to this entire department who goes out each and every day to make sure all of us are safe."
The mayor continued, "it's on all of us to make sure that our city is safe. It's on all of us to make sure public safety is secure for everybody in our community. And it's on all of us to make sure that individuals that are out there that would cause incidents like this, death harm and destruction - that we keep an eye on them. That we inform them that they should put guns down, that they stop committing acts of violence."
There's now a growing memorial outside of MPD District 4, honoring the officer.
A growing memorial outside of Dirstrict 4 in Milwaukee after an officer was killed while trying to arrest a 19-year-old armed robbery overnight. More info at today @tmj4 @TMJ4Tom on the scene now with updates pic.twitter.com/r7i3hfFXMP— Gideon WVW (@GidTruth) February 7, 2023
The officer's death comes almost exactly four years after Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner was killed on duty. He died on Feb. 6, 2019. Rittner was killed while issuing a search warrant.