A 68-year-old man was shot and killed in a targeted attack in his home in New Lisbon early Friday.
Sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the victim was retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer, who retired from the bench in 2017.
Attorney General Josh Kaul said the assailant appeared to be targeting others as well. Sources told the Journal Sentinel that Gov. Tony Evers was among them, but Kaul declined to provide any names during a brief news conference in Mauston.
Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback declined to discuss the incident, saying the governor’s office has a policy of not talking about security matters.
A 56-year-old man found in the judge’s house was transported to a hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 6:30 am Friday about an armed person in a New Lisbon home where two shots had been fired, Kaul said at a news conference. The caller had been inside the home, but left and contacted authorities from a nearby residence.
“The individual who’s a suspect appears to have had other targets as well, appears to be related to the judicial system,” Kaul said. Those names are not being released at this time, Kaul said, but the other targets have been notified.
The Juneau County Special Tactics and Response Team attempted to negotiate with the armed man and entered the house around 10:15 am, or nearly four hours after law enforcement was first contacted.
Inside, they found the 68-year-old homeowner dead. The suspect was found wounded in the basement. The firearm was recovered at the scene.
Kaul said no names or specific addresses are being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
“At this point we are not aware of any evidence that there is any active danger to other individuals,” Kaul said. “Those who may have been other targets have been notified.”
Kaul said the 56-year-old man is believed to be in critical condition.
“So far the information that’s been gathered indicates that it was a targeted act and the targeting was based on some sort of court case or court cases,” Kaul said.
There is no believed danger to the public, Kaul said.
Donna Voss, a retiree who lives next door to where the incident occurred, said: “One of my neighbors called and said what’s going on, what’s going on. It was really surprising something like this would happen around here. I still can’t understand it.”
Voss said of Roemer: “He was such a nice guy. Church goer. It’s terrible.”
As law enforcement swarmed the area, Voss said she heard a policewoman on a loudspeaker say several times, “Come out with your hands up.”
A woman who asked to only be identified her first name, Jackie, said she lives several houses away from Roemer’s home. She said she was flooded all day with calls and texts from other community members asking for information.
When asked if neighbors were rattled by the news, she said, “We’re a small community, so yeah.”
Jackie, a former teacher, said she knew Roemer primarily through two of his children, who were students of hers.
“He walks his dogs all the time,” she said. “He’s friendly, a nice enough guy.”
The state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the probe, and is assisted by the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, Mauston Police Department, Elroy Police Department, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, Wisconsin State Patrol, DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services and the FBI .
This story will be updated.
Contact Kelli Arseneau at (920) 213-3721 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ArseneauKelli.