Authorities released the identities Monday of two officers who were fatally shot during a traffic stop over the weekend in Barron County.
Officer Emily Breidenbach, 32, of the Chetek Police Department and Officer Hunter Scheel, 23, of the Cameron Police Department were pronounced dead on the scene, according to a Wisconsin Department of Justice press release addressing the incident in northwestern Wisconsin. 50-year-old suspect Glenn Douglas Perry was taken to a hospital where he later died.
The confrontation occurred after officers stopped Perry based on a warrant and after they were notified Perry was exhibiting “concerning behavior.” Gunfire was exchanged during the traffic stop, the DOJ wrote in the release.
The DOJ, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and FBI are investigating the incident with several other Wisconsin state agencies. The DOJ confirmed there was no active threat to the community.
Local authorities held a press conference Monday, which consisted of comments from Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright and the chiefs of the Chetek and Cameron Police Departments.
“I ask that you respect the privacies of our officers but, more importantly, the families and friends of Hunter and Emily,” Cameron Police Department Chief Adam Steffen said. “I want to thank everyone for your generous donations, words of affirmation and, most of all, your continued support as we struggle to get through this. We will get through this.”
The Cameron Police Department is creating an account to accept donations for the fallen officers, and additional information will be available on the department’s Facebook page within the next day, Steffen said.
Wright said Monday the full details of the investigation into Saturday’s incident will be made public as soon as his office receives a finalized report from the DCI, which he anticipates within 30 to 45 days.
“I can tell you these are two outstanding officers, and they deserve nothing [less] than this report that’s going to be coming from the DA’s office, being done in an expedited manner,” Wright said at the press conference. “I think that’s the least that we can do for the families of both officers and certainly for the community as a whole.”
Memorials for the officers appeared in front of the Chetek and Cameron police departments over the weekend, TMJ4 Milwaukee reported.
Gov. Tony Evers sent his condolences to the fallen officers and their loved ones in a tweet Sunday.
“Our hearts are heavy for the Chetek and Cameron police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty yesterday,” Evers wrote. “Kathy and I are praying for the officers’ families, colleagues and the Barron County community mourning this tragic loss.”
There has been an outpouring of support for the officers' families, loved ones and communities from across the state since Saturday’s incident, including from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department (UWPD).
“We are shocked and saddened by yesterday’s tragic shooting in Barron County that took the lives of two police officers — one from the Chetek Police Department and the other from the Cameron Police Department. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and all who knew them,” UWPD wrote in a tweet Sunday.
Breidenbach started her law enforcement career with the Stoughton Police Department in Dane County before serving four years with the Chetek Police Department. Scheel had graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy in December 2022 and was with the department for about a year, according to the DOJ.
DCI said it will continue to review the case and determine the facts of the incident, according to the DOJ. The department will turn over investigative reports to the Barron County District Attorney when its investigation concludes.
Ian Wilder is a current features writer and former state politics reporter for The Daily Cardinal. Follow him on Twitter at @IanWWilder.