Police Catch Officer Hetland's Killer, Arrest Him With The Slain Officer's Cuffs

Dalquavis Ward had only been out of federal prison for four days when he fatally shot Officer John Hetland, police said.

Milwaukee, WI – The gunman accused of murdering Racine Police Officer John Hetland during an armed robbery at a tavern on June 17 was arrested on Thursday using the slain officer’s handcuffs.

Dalquavis Ward, 26, was apprehended in Milwaukee just one day after Officer Hetland’s funeral service, WDJT reported.

He was wearing the slain officer’s handcuffs as he was led to the Kenosha County Jail, where he was charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon, and first-degree homicide.

Ward had been released from federal prison just four days before the shooting, WTMJ reported.

“We are pleased to announce we have actually caught that killer this evening,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling confirmed during a press conference on Thursday. “This coward is in our custody.”

Customers and employees at Teezers Bar & Grill – the tavern where Officer Hetland was killed – sat silently as the press conference played on the television screen, The Journal Times reported.

“When they said they used Johnny Hetland’s handcuffs to bring him into custody, the crowd just screamed,” said Karla Seidenspinner, who has worked at Teezers for nearly 20 years.

Seidenspinner said that the 49-year-old off-duty officer had only been at the tavern for about 10 minutes when Ward burst in with a bandanna tied around his face.

In an attempt to stop the burglary-in-progress, Officer Hetland leaped over the bar and tackled ward to the ground, she said.

In the process, Ward fatally shot the veteran officer in the chest, then took off with cash from the business, WDJT reported.

Investigators managed to identify Ward using DNA evidence taken from a doorknob at the tavern and from Officer Hetland’s clothing, according to The Journal Sentinel.

They ultimately tracked him to an address in Milwaukee, WDJT reported.

Over 17 law enforcement agencies spent “thousands” of hours working on the investigation into Officer Hetland’s murder thus far, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said during the press conference.

“This is not done,” Sheriff Beth said. “The investigation is intensifying right now. We have a person in custody but the evidence that we need to put that finishing nails in his coffin – that’s what we still have to do.”

Ward’s criminal history began at the age of 15, when he was convicted of armed robbery, WTMJ reported.

In 2014, he was charged federally in connection with the armed robbery of a Racine liquor store, but wasn’t sentenced for that offense until 2016.

While the federal charge was pending in 2015, Ward attacked and strangled his girlfriend during a domestic altercation, WTMJ reported.

Although he was prohibited from possessing firearms due to his juvenile armed robbery conviction, investigators found “a large, bolt action rifle with a live round in the chamber and a short magazine with three additional rounds” hidden in the basement of his home.

Ward’s girlfriend told police where the gun was located.

He was convicted of strangulation, possession of a firearm by a felon, and disorderly conduct, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by 18 months on probation, WITI reported.

Ward was later sentenced to five years in federal prison for the federal armed robbery offense, The Journal Times reported.

After completing his prison term on June 13, Ward was released from custody and began serving a three-year federal probation sentence.

During the press conference on Thursday, Racine Police Chief Arthel Howell said he is pleased to know that Officer Hetland’s accused killer is in custody.

“But I’m not happy,” he said. “Because it should’ve never happened.”

Although Officer Hetland was off-duty when the fatal altercation occurred, the circumstances of his murder are considered to be a “line of duty death,” the Racine Police Department (RPD) said, according to WGN.

The veteran officer “took immediate action to stop this felony in progress in order to protect life and property,” Chief Howell said in a news release at the time, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Officer Hetland served in a wide variety of positions during his 24-year career with the RPD, Chief Howell told the paper.

The trusted, highly-respected officer spent time working as a field training officer, and also served on the Greater Racine Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Task Force.

Officer Hetland leaves behind two children, as well as his parents, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Ward appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin for a probation violation hearing on Friday, the Journal Sentinel reported.

He is scheduled to appear for a probation revocation hearing on July 25.

Ward’s initial appearance in Kenosha County court is scheduled for Monday, WITI reported.

Comments (40)
No. 1-19
Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Dalquavis? another npn type.

SheepDawg
SheepDawg

Wait!! How can this be? There are who knows how many laws prohibiting this scumbag from having a gun, yet four days after his early release he's armed? Guess those laws aren't working too well, and neither will additional laws. Criminals be criminals regardless of the level of melatonin in their skin.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

QUESTION: was the officer shot with his own gun here?

COMMENT: so it sounds like they could have caught him just as fast (using the doorknob DNA) if the officer had merely complied.

Fuzzycat
Fuzzycat

With a name like Dalquavius or whatever the hell his momma named him he was doomed from birth. Useless ghetto scum only know 3 career choices, athlete, rapper or criminal. Those are the only things respected in their culture. Doctor, police, firefighter, military, engineer, factory worker? Dem be Whitey's jobs

Mig Alley
Mig Alley

We need to find out where he "bought" that gun!!! Oh wait, never mind. /S 🙄

dcoskrey
dcoskrey

Too bad they didn't use the slain officer's gun to shoot him between the eyes.

PD732004
PD732004

OK so they used the Officer's handcuffs...should have used his weapon.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Why am I not surprised. Another black person arrested for such a crime. Glad they used the officers cuffs. Sadly to say, the way this system goes now a days, he’ll be out again. Unless something “bad” happens to him in jail....

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

4 days out of custody??? He is smiling because "he proud of what he done" kill him

Judgesson
Judgesson

The slime ball should go directly to Federal Custody awaiting execution for his last deed! POS

Gramercy
Gramercy

No hearing, no trial..DO UNTO HIM WHAT HE DID TO ANOTHER!

investigator
investigator

Strangulation and possession of a firearm by a felon.....and some liberal candy a$$ judge sentenced him to EIGHTEEN MONTHS??????? People.....ypu have to research these morons before you vote them in!!!

VicG
VicG

One less POS on the street, but at a terrible price. Condolences to family and department. Rest in Peace Brother...

Rdwaryer63
Rdwaryer63

It wasn't a "burglary-in-progress"; it was an armed robbery-in-progress. Big difference. Buildings and conveyances get burglarized. People get robbed. Great job by all of the law enforcement agencies to work so hard together to take this scroat off the street. I find myself asking the question, was Officer Hetland not carrying?

America1st
America1st

I’m sure it the white mans fault or for sure Trumps fault that this thug was a Lifetime criminal.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Time for him to rot, either in hell, or prison for the rest of his despicable life!

OldVet
OldVet

But it wasn't legal for him to have a gun. Gun control advocates wake up, criminals get guns no matter what the controls. Screams for federal death penalty for killing a law enforcement officer. And not after 20 years of appeals.

61mouse
61mouse

I would have preferred to read you gave the asshole a 3rd eye with one of officer's Hetland bullets. That would have been a better headline

MKD23
MKD23

To bad he didn’t catch a bullet from Officer ’s gun! Pos!