A Milwaukee tactical officer died in the hospital on the morning of Feb. 6 after being shot while executing a search warrant.
"This is a very, very, very difficult time for our city, for the Milwaukee Police Department, obviously for the family that's been affected, and we ask for your prayers at this time," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said, according to WISN. "I am filled with sorrow over this needless loss. At the same time, I am filled with anger at the individual who took the life of this police officer."
Rittner was rushed to Froedtert Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. He is survived by a wife and child.
Grant noted in the release that prior to the three officer deaths in the recent eight-month period, the Milwaukee Police Department had gone "approximately 22 years without a line of duty death."
"The members on scene utilized tremendous restraint during the suspect's apprehension, which is a true testament to the character and professionalism of the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department," Morales said.
Decorated 17-Year VeteranRittner, who has a record of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, began his career as a police aide in 2001. He was part of a team that helped free hostages on two separate occasions in one month in 2015.
He and his colleagues confronted a gunman who had tied a man and woman with electrical cords in a basement on Dec. 7, 2015. The gunman had threatened to kill the hostages when police rushed into the basement. The suspect was apprehended and the hostages weren't harmed.
Then on Dec. 27, 2015, Rittner was part of a team that responded to a hostage situation where a man was holding a woman at gunpoint. The suspect surrendered but officers noticed smoke coming from the home and feared there was a fire. The officers went into the house and found the woman in the bathroom.
The officers received awards for bravery and courage in both cases.
Six months ago, Officer Michael Michalski was fatally shot while trying to arrest a convicted felon wanted on drug and domestic violence offenses. Last June, 23-year-old Officer Charles Irvine Jr. was killed in a squad car crash during the high-speed pursuit of a suspect. Irvine was the first Milwaukee officer killed in the line of duty since 1996.
"I am filled with sorrow over this needless loss and at the same time I am filled with anger at the individual who took the life of this police officer," Barrett said. The mayor said the officer "was doing his job" and "working to make our city safe" when he was killed.