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35-year-old Milwaukee police officer killed while serving search warrant

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The 17-year veteran is the third Milwaukee officer to be killed in the line of duty since July

Image source: KCRG-TV video screenshot

A 35-year-old Milwaukee police officer was shot and killed Wednesday morning during the execution of a search warrant on the city's south side.

Officer Matthew Rittner, a 17-year veteran of the department, became the third officer killed in the line of duty since July. He was a tenured member of the Tactical Enforcement Unit and veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps, according to officials.

"Yet again, we are mourning the loss of another dedicated member," Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said in a statement Wednesday.

The suspect, Jordan Fricke, 26, was arrested at the scene without incident.

What happened?

Rittner, along with other officers, arrived at Fricke's residence about 9:17 a.m. Wednesday. The suspect was wanted for the sale of illegal firearms and drugs, according to police.

The officers announced themselves before entering the home. Fricke allegedly opened fire on the officers striking Rittner.

Rittner was transported to Froedtert Hospital, where he died.

More about Rittner

The officer served two deployments in Iraq.

"If you were to draw a picture of a United States Marine or draw a picture of a perfect police officer, that would be him," Max Zaruba, a friend who served with Rittner in Iraq, told the Journal-Sentinel.

During his 2004-05 tour, vehicles that he was riding in was hit by roadside bombs in three separate incidents. He also survived a 4.5-hour firefight during his tour, according to the newspaper.

"He was a great American, a great patriot," said Guillermo Rosales Jr., who was a commander during Rittner's 2008 deployment to Iraq.

Rittner and his wife Caroline were married in September 2017 at Miller Park. The couple also has a young son.

"Matt was probably the happiest person in the world, to be a dad, to have an amazing wife, to be a police officer," Zaruba said. "He was excessively proud of that."

What else?

Morales asked members of the department to pray for each other and Rittner's family.

"To my officers, I am asking that you reach out to one another and that you not only support one another but that you pray for one another," Morales said in a statement. "Milwaukee, I am also asking for your prayers as this is a very tragic time for our agency."

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