Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski was murdered as he hunted a suspect wanted for outstanding drug and weapons warrants on Wednesday.
“It is with great sadness that I stand before you to announce the tragic death of another fallen Milwaukee police officer,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales told reporters during a press conference.
Chief Morales said Officer Michalski was searching for a wanted suspect at a home in the area of North 28th and West Wright Street at about 5 p.m. on July 25 when the suspect opened fire on officers.
The suspect, 30-year-old Jonathan Copeland Jr., was wanted for violation of parole, possession of a controlled substance - heroin, and harassment intimidation offenses, WITI reported.
Chief Morales said he believed that Copeland didn’t stop shooting until he "ran out of ammunition, and finally gave up,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Officer Michalski, a 17-year-veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department, was transported to Froedtert Hospital where he died despite lifesaving efforts, WITI reported.
Copeland, who Chief Morales described as a convicted felon with an “extensive juvenile and adult criminal history,” was taken into custody uninjured.
Officer Michalski was assigned to the Special Investigations Division and was a 20-year employee of the City of Milwaukee, according to the chief.
“Officer Michalski was loved by everyone. He’s the person that you would want to cookie cut and say ‘this is what we want the Milwaukee Police Department to represent. He is the person that if you were going to the door and wanted cooperation, you wanted people to talk to you, you would send Officer Michalski. He’s a Christian — well-loved on the department. I can’t think of anybody who has anything negative to say about Officer Michalski or his family,” Chief Morales said on Thursday.
Officer Michalski, 52, leaves behind his wife Susan, and three sons — John, Josh and Andrew, according to WITI.
“He embodied the professionalism and respect we want to see in the police department. I ask the residents to not only pray for Officer Michalski and his family, but to thank our police officers for the work that they do for us. This is another tragic reminder of the stress they are under on a daily basis. He went in there and made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the residents of this community,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
Alderman Mark Borkowski called Officer Michalski "a giant in our community," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
"He was a very quiet, unassuming man who did his job and did it very well," Borkowski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He was a pillar of our community. He leaves behind a huge void."
The fallen officer’s neighbors in the Jackson Park neighborhood on Milwaukee's south side devastated by the news.
"He was so into the neighborhood. He loved it here — he said it was like a quaint village," said Dee Chastain, president of the Jackson Park Community Association. "He's been in the neighborhood for a long time."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that police department records showed Officer Michalski was part of the Robbery Task Force honored at the Spring Merit Awards in May 2017 for helping to stop an increase in carjackings and auto thefts in the city.
Officer Michalski also received accolades in a department Facebook post in 2012 when he and his partner took four pounds of marijuana off the street during a traffic stop, and chased down and arrested the people who had been in the car with the drugs, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ordered American and state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Officer Michalski until his burial, Urban Milwaukee reported.
“Tonette and I mourn the death of Office Michael Michalski who died in the line of duty while protecting the people he served for 20 years. His passing is another painful reminder of the absolute commitment and sacrifices our law enforcement officers make to protect our communities every day. Our hearts go out to his family and the entire Milwaukee Police Department family. His memory and dedication to our state will always be remembered.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Michael Michalski, your life mattered.