Hundreds Turn Out To Honor Young State Trooper Killed On Duty

Trevor Casper Died In A Shootout During His First Solo Shift

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

More than 1,000 people came to a visitation and memorial service Sunday in Kiel for Trevor Casper, the 21-year-old who last week became the first Wisconsin State Patrol officer to be murdered on the job in more than 40 years.

Casper died in Fond du Lac last Tuesday, during an exchange of gunfire with a man suspected of killing another man and robbing a bank in Wausaukee. The suspect also died during the shootout.

Casper grew up in Kiel, 20 miles northwest of Sheboygan. As people walked toward Kiel High School for Casper’s visitation, several of his friends spoke glowingly about him.

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Nicole Raabe was a classmate of Casper’s in the criminal justice program at Lakeshore Technical College.

“He was involved in everything and he was a great student, a great friend. He always made the time to talk to everybody and he was just an outgoing person,” Raabe recalled.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from nearly every state and from many Wisconsin communities also came to Kiel. Officer Alex Jaeger of the Sheboygan Police Department said he didn’t know Casper, but didn’t really have to.

“We all wear the same badge, maybe different colors, maybe different shapes. But we’re all the same people, fighting the same cause, and we all work together to solve the problem,” Jaeger said.

Mike Crivello of the Milwaukee Police Association said the law enforcement bond extends between big cities and smaller ones.

“This brother that we lost from the state troopers is representative of officers regardless of the size of town, anywhere,” Crivello said.

Karrie Kerkela is a 911 dispatcher in Brown County and is married to a police officer. She said Casper being just 21 years old makes his death more difficult to process.

“It’s devastating. I can’t fathom it,” she said. “My husband’s been on the job for 17 years. You know when you think of this young guy his first day, on his own, it’s tragic. It’s tragic.”

The State Patrol says that Casper was its youngest officer. He had only graduated from the State Patrol Academy in December, and last Tuesday was his first shift patrolling on his own. That’s led to some questions about whether young, inexperienced troopers like Casper should always have a partner.

Patrol Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald met with the media Sunday and said Casper did have other troopers nearby.

“He was on his on own, his first night alone, but he wasn’t really alone. There were other people close by,” Fitzgerald said. “We really watch people when they start their career on the road and there were other people close by that backed him up when this incident happened.”

Fitzgerald said Casper had excellent training, but given that state investigators haven’t released all the details about the case, including information about Casper’s final moments, another of Casper’s friends, Amanda Kohls, wanted to know more.

“I would say if I hoped to learn anything, it would just be, maybe why, just why it ended that way?” Kohls said.

There will be a private burial for Casper Monday in Kiel.