Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Police Officer Mark Lentz died on Sept. 18 due to health-related issues that may have been caused by on-duty injuries he suffered in 2017.
Officer Lentz was patrolling on his motorcycle on Aug. 3, 2017, when 17-year-old Sirantoine Powell intentionally slammed into him with an SUV, WISN reported.
Investigators later determined that Powell and another individual were committing robberies on the day Officer Lentz was attacked.
Powell rammed the SUV into the officer when he tried to pull over the accomplice, who was driving a second vehicle.
Officer Lentz was treated for “road rash and pain to his arms and legs” after the crash, and was eventually able to return to duty, WISN reported.
He later began experiencing nerve damage and symptoms of traumatic brain injury, including significant memory loss and an inability to speak.
"It's very difficult to see anyone take their last breaths in front of you,” Milwaukee Police Captain Derrick Harris said, according to WITI. “He was surrounded by his family and members of his unit and I believe that's the way he wanted to leave us.”
“It’s hard to explain why things happen to good people,” Capt. Harris added.
Officer Lentz served the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) for 18 years, the agency said in a Facebook post.
Longtime friend and fellow Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club member Brandon Rios said that it was difficult watching the 56-year-old officer lose the ability to ride and to do the things he loved, WITI reported.
“It’s rough,” Rios said. “Tough to see a guy like that go through what he did.”
It is unclear whether or not Officer Lenz’s death will be considered as a line-of-duty death, because the exact cause remains under investigation, WITI reported.
Powell is serving a six-year sentence in connection with the attack on the officer, according to WISN.
Prosecutors said that additional charges may be forthcoming if it is determined that the collision ultimately contributed to Officer Lentz’s death, WITI reported.
The Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) said that Officer Lentz was “respected immensely” as a “beloved member” of the law enforcement “brotherhood,” according to the group’s Facebook post.
“You were an excellent officer and an even better man!” the MPA said. “Our deepest condolences go out to Mark’s family, coworkers, and friends. Rest in Peace brother!”
Officer Lentz leaves behind his wife, Dayna, his son, David, and his three grandchildren, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his siblings, his father-in-law, his nieces and nephews, and many friends and extended family members.
“Mark is also survived by his brothers and sisters in blue at MPD,” the obituary read.
Officer Lentz will be laid to rest on Thursday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Milwaukee Police Officer Mark Lentz, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.