'A brotherhood and sisterhood:' Milwaukee firefighters support Appleton FD after death in the line of duty

Procession for fallen Appleton firefighter

MILWAUKEE -- A firefighter responding to a medical emergency was killed in a shooting at a bus station in Appleton that left a police officer and two others injured, officials said.

The shooting happened after police and firefighters responded to a medical emergency around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 at Valley Transit in downtown Appleton, fire and police officials said. Appleton Officer Meghan Cash said there was no ongoing threat to the community, but she didn't say if anyone was in custody.

First responders in Milwaukee stood united with the Appleton Fire Department as the firefighter's body was transported from Appleton to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office early Thursday, and then back to Appleton following an autopsy.

Procession for fallen Appleton firefighter

Brent Jones

"It's a brotherhood and a sisterhood," said Brent Jones, MFD, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Honor Guard commander.

Early Thursday morning, the lights from emergency vehicles lit the way as the fallen firefighter's body arrived in Milwaukee.

"We understand that we need to take care of each other," said Jones.

Another person shot was an Appleton police officer who is recovering at a local hospital, authorities said. Representatives of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association responded to the scene, executive director Jim Palmer said.

The shooting happened on Peace Officers Memorial Day which honors officers who have died or been injured while working.

Procession for fallen Appleton firefighter

"We on the Milwaukee Fire Department had a close call just a couple years ago. One of our firefighters was grazed along the side of his head from a gunshot that hit the side of an ambulance," said Jones.

Mitchell Lundgaard

A long line of emergency vehicles escorted the firefighter's body from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office in Milwaukee, where an autopsy was done, back to Appleton Thursday.

Police on motorcycles led the procession as it made its way north about 120 miles (193 kilometers) on Interstate 41. Firefighters with their truck lights flashing positioned themselves on interstate overpasses as the procession passed by on the way to an Appleton funeral home.

Firefighters stood silently at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office as the procession began, just as they had when the body arrived in a flag-draped casket overnight.

"So that the Appleton Fire Department and his family knew that even though he's not there at home, that he is guarded and we all feel that loss with them and for them," said Jones. "We ask people to remember that we're human beings. We have lives. We have families. We have people that care about us as well."

Funeral arrangements for the fallen firefighter were pending as of Thursday.