Milwaukee Officer, Marine Veteran Matthew Rittner Killed While Serving Warrant.
Milwaukee has lost three police officers over the last 8 months. The latest one to be killed was Matthew Rittner, 35, a 17 year veteran of the force. He was also a US Marine Veteran, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as part of a Marine Reserve Unit. Surviving combat overseas to be killed in the United States after 17 years is a difficult situation for his friends to comprehend. He leaves behind a wife and young son.
Killed in the line of duty
Officers of Milwaukee’s TEU- Tactical Enforcement Unit- were at the house on the south side of Milwaukee to execute a search warrant. Jordan P Fricke, 26, was wanted for illegal sales of drugs and firearms. He opened fire with a rifle as the TEU made entry, and a bullet struck Officer Rittner in the chest.
He was transported to the hospital, but succumbed to his wounds.
Fricke was taken into custody without further incident. Sgt Sherona Grant, Milwaukee’s PIO stated that the officers who took him into custody showed tremendous restraint. Officer Rittner was a beloved member of the police department, and had received numerous commendations.
The Man, the Marine, the Hero
Matthew and his wife, Caroline were married in 2017, and on that day, Matthew was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the game. He was an ardent Brewers fan.
“He was just fearless. He was a Humvee driver for an entire tour that we drove only unarmored vehicles. If you took a direct hit from an IED or RPG, you were dead. We called them suicide sleds. We all knew that every time we loaded into those vehicles, it might be our last.” Ryan Lackey, Rittner’s Marine platoon Sergeant .
“He was a great American, a great patriot.”
Guillermo Rosales Jr. , Commander, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines during Rittner’s 2008 deployment.
The Journal-Sentinel reported,
In 2001, he became a police aide with MPD.
Police Department records show he received a medal of valor and an award for meritorious service for his work on the Tactical Enforcement Unit.
He received the medal of valor after helping free hostages from a gunman in 2015.
“The tactical team raced down the stairwell to save the hostages from the gunman,” the commendation says. “This group’s bravery and courage demonstrated their commitment to the citizens.”
He also was honored in 2015 after he and the unit went to a call for a man holding a woman against her will in a home. The man walked outside and was arrested. During the arrest, officers noticed smoke coming from the building and went inside, escorting the woman to safety. They then returned a second time to make sure no one else was in danger.
The Man, the Marine, the Hero…all three of those describe Officer Matthew Rittner. The TEU, of which Matthew was a part, are tenured members. His service there and eight years with the Marine Reserve unit will never be forgotten. End of Watch, 2-6-2019.