Man Sent To Prison For Life For Killing Milwaukee Officer

A Jury In July Convicted Jordan Fricke Of First-Degree Intentional Homicide

Police lights

A judge has sentenced a man who killed a Milwaukee police officer to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner had the option of granting parole eligibility for Jordan Fricke but declined. The 27-year-old defendant tearfully told the judge during the sentencing hearing Thursday that people who know him know he’s a “nice guy” who’s never been in trouble.

Officer Matthew Rittner was using a battering ram to serve a search warrant for suspected illegal guns and drugs when Fricke fatally shot him on Feb. 6. Rittner was 35.

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Fricke testified during his trial that he thought he heard gunshots at his door and fired an assault-style weapon in self-defense. Prosecutors say police had loudly announced their presence.

A jury in July convicted Fricke of first-degree intentional homicide.

Rittner was a veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps, serving two tours in the Middle East. He began his career as a police aide in 2001. He served as a member of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Tactical Enforcement Unit for 10 years.

In 2016, Rittner was awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor. The medal is the highest decoration for bravery exhibited by public safety officers in the United States, comparable to the military’s Medal of Honor.

The Milwaukee Police Department issued a statement Thursday afternoon after Frickle’s sentencing:

“As we continue to grieve Officer Rittner’s death, we will never forget him, and we will never forget how he served and protected the residents of the City of Milwaukee and our country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Milwaukee Police Department thanks the members of our agency, as well as our partner law enforcement organizations for their assistance in this investigation. We would also like to thank all of the members of our community, locally and nationwide; who have shown a tremendous amount of support to the Rittner family and to the members of MPD.”

Rittner was survived by a wife and young son. Shortly after his death, his wife announced she was pregnant.

Rittner was one of four Milwaukee Police officers killed in less than 18 months.

Officer Michael Michalski, 52, was shot and killed in July 2018, while responding to a call related to a suspect wanted on gun and drug charges. Jonathan Copeland Jr., 30, pleaded not guilty in August to the killing. Officer Charles Irvine Jr., 23, died in June 2018, while he and another officer were pursuing a suspect with a lengthy criminal record. The squad car crashed as they chased the suspect on the city’s northwest side. Officer Kou Her was killed while driving home from his shift when a speeding driver ran a red light at a Milwaukee intersection.