Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Lynn Sebena
Photo credit: Courtesy Photo
WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- A 30-year-old Wauwatosa police officer was killed by multiple gunshots while on duty early Monday, police Lt. Gerald Witkowski said at a noon news conference.
Witkowski said that a homicide investigation is under way and there "are no suspects at this time."
The murdered officer, Jennifer Lynn Sebena, entered the Milwaukee Area Technical College police academy and joined the force in January 2011. She began as a solo patrol officer with Wauwatosa police in July 2012 and completed probation with the department in November, Witkowski said.
Witkowski said Sebena was married. He did not know whether the couple has children.
"Sometime this morning, between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. one of our Wauwatosa police officers was shot numerous times in the village of Wauwatosa," Witkowski said. "That officer succumbed to those gunshot wounds and has passed away."
Witkowsi said Sebena was believed to be wearing her safety vest at the time she was shot.
The investigation is being led by the state Division of Criminal Investigations, within the Justice Department.
"Our hearts are really heavy," Witkowski said. "We just can't believe something like this occurs."
As the department's field training coordinator, Witkowski said he knew Sebena and attended her graduation from the police academy.
"Great person, great officer," he said. "This unbelievable act has touched everybody at the department."
The stunning chain of events began in the early morning hours when Wauwatosa dispatchers attempted to raise Sebena on her late shift patrol.
"A call had been put out by her dispatchers to send her to a call for service and she didn't respond," Witkowski said. "One of our other officers had talked to her earlier in the evening or seen that vehicle and discovered her."
Witkowski said officers were out looking for Sebena because she "had not responded to her radio."
Witkowski said "those residents who live in that area, we believe there is no risk to them at this point in time. The area has been searched."
Witkowski asked any citizens who saw anyone in the area between 3 and 5 a.m. to call police at (414) 771-8672.
He added that police are "asking residents and curiosity-seekers to avoid the area of Wauwatosa Ave., Church St., and to the north, Milwaukee Ave. and to the south Harmonee Ave."
Meanwhile, there was a strong police presence in the village area. The scene being investigated and cordoned off included were areas near Harmonee Ave. and Underwood Ave.
Among the police departments that were on the scene were units from Brookfield, Butler, West Allis, Greendale, Shorewood, Menomonee Falls, Glendale, Oak Creek and Cudahy as well as the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Milwaukee County Sheriff.
"Priests, pastors, other clergy members, stress advisers, officers that have been trained in dealing with stress, are currently at the police department and providing counseling as needed, talking to family members," Witkowski said.
Beyond the flashing lights of the police cars, yellow tape surrounded the parking lot of the fire station.
Businesses on the stretch of Underwood Ave. across the street from the fire station were told not to open, said Loreen Hablewitz, manager of The Flower Lady. The police allowed flower shop employees to come in to get deliveries out, she said.
A few doors down, Hablewitz said she saw a man knocking on the back door of Bangles and Bags, trying in vain to get in to pick up some earrings he had ordered.
At Breadsmith, a block away in the heart of the village, owner Pritz Tuschen said the parking lot was empty when she arrived at 9 a.m., but shortly after customers had started making their way around the cordoned off areas to buy their holiday breads.
Journal Sentinel reporters Kathleen Gallagher, Dan Egan, Jason Stein and Crocker Stephenson contributed to this report.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service