St. Croix County, WI – St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO) Deputy Kaitie Leising was murdered in the line of duty on Saturday evening while investigating an alleged drunk-driving crash.
The 29-year-old deputy responded to the area of County Road G and Highway 128 at approximately 6:15 p.m. on May 6 after receiving a report of a vehicle that had crashed into a ditch, KSTP reported.
When she arrived at the scene, Deputy Leising spotted other people who had pulled over to help the driver of the vehicle.
The driver was later identified as 34-year-old Jeremiah Johnson, KSTP reported.
During the course of her investigation, Deputy Leising asked Johnson to perform a field sobriety test, at which point he became “evasive,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice (WDOJ) said in a press release.
She had been speaking with the suspect for about eight minutes when he abruptly pulled out a handgun and opened fire on her, according to investigators.
Despite her wounds, the injured deputy managed to return fire, KSTP reported.
But none of the three rounds she fired struck her attacker.
Johnson then allegedly fled on foot into the nearby woods, WEAU reported.
The WDOJ said the good Samaritans who had initially pulled over to help Johnson rushed to Deputy Leising’s aid before she was transported to a local hospital, KSTP reported.
She succumbed to her wounds shortly thereafter.
The shootout was captured on Deputy Leising’s bodycam, according to KSTP.
Police searched the woods and located the gunman approximately one hour after the shooting, KSTP reported.
The WDOJ said Johnson fatally shot himself after one of the officers spotted him.
Investigators said they located a handgun next to his body.
None of the officers searching for Johnson fired their weapons during the incident, KSTP reported.
The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting and will forward its findings to the St. Croix County District Attorney’s Office for review.
A procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted the slain deputy’s body to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul, Minnesota, at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday.
A second procession escorted Deputy Leising’s body to a funeral home in Baldwin, Wisconsin, later that afternoon, KSTP reported.
Deputy Leising joined the SCCSO approximately one year ago, St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said in a press release on Sunday.
She previously served the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota for two years, according to Sheriff Knudson.
“Our love and condolences go out to the family of Kaitie Leising and all those with whom she served,” the sheriff wrote. “We, as a law enforcement family, will do everything possible to continue to provide support and comfort to her family.
“We will miss her infectious smile and personality,” he added. “She will be missed by all she touched.”
The Town of Warren said in a Facebook post that Deputy Leising “served St. Croix County with honor and distinction.”
“You will not be forgotten. Peace be with all who loved Deputy Leising,” city officials wrote. “To the St. Croix Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Warrens official law enforcement agency, you are honored, respected and loved beyond measure. Thank you for all you do every day.”
St. Croix County Sheriff's Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, was shot and killed in the line of duty by a suspect Saturday night. – Leising served with the Pennington County (SD) Sheriff's Office before joining St. Croix County in Wisconsin in 2022. pic.twitter.com/XwXsYBRuDE
— WI CRIME | Police/Fire/EMS (@wicrime) May 8, 2023
The South Dakota Highway Patrol sends its prayers and condolences to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office, and the family of Deputy Kaitie Leising. Deputy Leising was killed in the line of duty after responding to a potential drunken driver in the ditch. pic.twitter.com/L39aIq0A6P
— South Dakota Highway Patrol (@SDHighwayPatrol) May 8, 2023
A squad car outside of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office is filling up with flowers as the community remembers and honors Deputy Kaitie Leising who was killed in the line of duty Saturday evening. pic.twitter.com/omFICy7acc
— Abbey Taylor (@abbeytaylornews) May 7, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kaitie Leising, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Kaitie Leising, your life mattered.