Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Police Officer Kou Her was killed by an alleged drunk driver while he was heading home from work on Tuesday.
The fatal collision occurred on North 60th Street at approximately 1:35 a.m., after Officer Her completed his shift at Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) District 4, the department said in a press release.
As he was proceeding through the intersection of West Capitol Drive, 34-year-old Dante James ran a red light at a high rate of speed, and slammed into the 27-year-old off-duty officer, the Journal Sentinel reported.
James then fled the scene on foot, police said.
He was later apprehended and charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, according to the Journal Sentinel.
James already had four drunk-driving convictions, and was on probation at the time of the fatal crash.
He was also previously convicted of trying to escape from law enforcement custody, possession of a firearm, and possession of cocaine.
Officer Her, a two-year veteran-of-the-force, was rushed to Froedtert Hospital, where he died of his injuries, WITI reported.
"It's unnecessary, because somebody made a choice…a choice to drive through a red light and take the life of a public servant.” Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson told the news outlet. "I have nothing but respect and condolences to give to Officer Her and Officer Her's family."
“It’s unfair,” Johnson added. “It’s not right.”
Officer Her was a first-generation Hmong-American, whose parents arrived in the U.S. as refugees from the Vietnam War, WITI reported.
He was also the first of his eight siblings to earn a college degree, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director May Yer Thao said.
"We're a very tight-knit community, and we kind of monitor what happens within all of our local communities," Thao explained.
She said that Officer Her’s death was “unacceptable,” and that it has been particularly difficult for the local Hmong community.
“It's a waste of an innocent life,” she added. “With him being a police officer, he was a beacon of hope for everyone to say, 'We could achieve these dreams.'"
Officer Her’s tragic death has also left his family reeling, she said.
“His father was very proud to have the first son in the family to be a police officer and serve our community,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said during a press conference on Tuesday, according to The Journal Times.
He leaves behind his wife, his parents, two sisters, and six brothers.
Officer Her’s funeral will be a four-day event, beginning on June 28 and lasting through his burial on July 1, WITI reported.
“I want the residents of this city to know and to appreciate the work that’s done by our police officers,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said during a press conference, according to The Journal Times. “Officer Her had just completed his tour of duty and, like all of us, wanted to drive home safely. Because [of] a person running a red light, he is now no longer with us.”
A fundraising campaign established to help Officer Her’s family in the wake of their loss has raised over $17,000.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Milwaukee Police Officer Kou Her, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.