Hundreds of first responders filled the pews of a Brookfield church Monday to pay their respects to one of their own.
Milwaukee police officer Peter Jerving — who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week — was laid to rest Monday at Wisconsin Memorial Cemetery. Earlier in the day, a visitation and funeral service was held for him at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield.
The 37-year-old officer was killed on Feb. 7 in a shootout during a robbery investigation on the city's south side. The suspect, 19-year-old Terrell Thompson, was also shot and killed.
Jerving was the fifth Milwaukee police officer to die in the line of duty in the last five years. A life-long Milwaukee resident, he had been with the department for four years.
Milwaukee Police District 4 Capt. Bradley Schlei spoke about Jerving at the funeral. He spoke of his smile, his sense of humor and his heart for service.
"Within the first five minutes of talking to him, I knew that he was someone special," Schlei said. "I knew he had dedication and heart and a drive to do this job and serve this community that was way above. He was special."
"I had big plans for Peter, but God had bigger plans," he added.
Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said Jerving wanted to be a police officer since he was a child. Norman also said Jerving received the Milwaukee Police Department's Lifesaving Award last year, after he and another officer helped provide medical care to a gunshot victim. Jerving also helped extinguish a fire from the victim's car after it caught on fire during the incident.
Norman called Jerving a hero for his actions.
"I cannot think of a better example of courage, honor and self-sacrifice than officer Peter E. Jerving," Norman said during the service.
Patty Jerving, the officer's mother, also spoke during the funeral, calling out in prayer for her aid to son's fellow officers in District 4, and for Thompson's family.
"Please help them to deal with their grief and trauma, and I ask for you to wipe away any bitterness that they might have in their hearts towards the young man who cut down Peter," Patty Jerving said. "I also ask for you to please bless the family of that young man, and especially the heart of his mother. She also lost a son on Feb. 7."
Several people lined the streets on the way from the church to the cemetery to pay their respects as well. Linda Karpowicz, a West Allis resident, held a flag outside the church throughout the day Monday.
"They've earned this," Karpowicz said. "The police officers need to know that we're behind them."
Fundraisers organized for officer's family
Jerving is survived by his mother and father, six siblings and many nieces and nephews, according to his obituary.
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Following his death, a makeshift memorial was made for Jerving at the District 4 station where he worked.
Milwaukee's Hoan Bridge was lit up blue hours after his death. Countless politicians and local leaders offered condolences. A vigil was held for the officer Friday at Silver Spring Church of God. Gov. Tony Evers also ordered all flags across the state be flown at half-staff from Friday until the end of the day Monday.
"Officer Jerving was a devoted officer who proudly served his city, having spent most of his life wanting to become an officer. By all accounts, he was a dedicated and distinguished public servant who demonstrated exemplary courage, and his passing is an exceptional loss for the city of Milwaukee and our state," Evers said in a statement.
A fundraiser and GoFundMe was also organized by his friends in the aftermath of his death. Over 700 people showed up to Kelly's Bleachers in Wind Lake for a fundraiser Friday. By the time the night was over, $20,500 was raised for Jerving's family.
David Wacker helped organize the fundraisers. He said he met Jerving through his Meetup group "Good Peeps." That group would organize events and play volleyball together.
"The first thing everybody is going to tell you about Peter is he's a very nice guy, just has this great smile and very uplifting personality," Wacker said. "The kind of person you just want to be around, be friends with."
Wacker said members of the group played volleyball in honor of Jerving's life during the fundraiser Friday night.
"He was very competitive, in the best sense of the word," Wacker said.
The on-duty death is the first for the Milwaukee Police Department since Feb. 6, 2019, when officer Matthew Rittner died while executing a search warrant. Rittner was the third Milwaukee police officer to be killed on duty in an eight-month time period at that time.
The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial recorded no line-of-duty police deaths in 2022. A report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found 64 officers around the nation were killed by gunfire in 2022.
READ MORE: Milwaukee police officer shot and killed on city's south side
According to a statement from the Milwaukee Police Department, the shooting occurred after Milwaukee police officers responded at 1:16 a.m. to the 2700 block of S. 14th Street in Milwaukee in search for a suspect in a robbery that occurred late Feb. 6. The suspect ran away from the officers, according to police. When officers caught up to the suspect, "a struggle ensued."
"During the struggle, the suspect used a handgun and fired shots, striking the other officer," police said in a statement. "That officer discharged his firearm during the exchange. The suspect was struck by gunfire."
The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team is investigating the incident, with the Brookfield Police Department serving as the lead agency. State law requires an outside agency to investigate police shootings.