Milwaukee police shooting, squad stolen, Jetrin Rodthong sentenced

The man charged with shooting a Milwaukee police officer and stealing his squad car in 2022 was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday, March 23. During the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor described the shooting as an "attempted execution" while the defendant asked for leniency.

Jetrin Rodthong, 23, pleaded guilty in January to several charges, including attempted first-degree intentional homicide, operating a vehicle without the owner's consent, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, hit-and-run involving injury and possession of methamphetamine. Three counts of felony bail jumping were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

MPD Officer Herbert Davis leaves hospital after being shot near 25th and St. Paul; Jetrin Rodthong

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The shooting happened on Jan. 27, 2022, near 25th and St. Paul. The officer, identified as Herbert Davis, was dispatched to the area after a passerby reported a man slumped over in a parked car. Rodthong had three bench warrants at the time.

Officer Davis' body camera video was shown in court during sentencing.

"I'm Officer Davis from Milwaukee police," the officer said. "What's going on here?"

Body camera video released by MPD showed the officer walking up to the car and opening the door, finding Rodthong slumped over as had been reported. The officer shined a light inside, pulled the keys out of the ignition and announced himself to Rodthong as a Milwaukee police officer.

Davis could not understand Rodthong. The two had a back-and-forth for a while before Davis called for medical help and asked Rodthong to get out of the car.

Video released by police showed Rodthong got out of the car, and he and Davis began to struggle. Seconds later, Davis ran and ducked behind the car. In the video, someone can be heard saying "stop" before shots were fired toward Davis. Rodthong crouched behind the car as Davis returned fire. Rodthong then hopped in the squad car and peeled off as Davis limped away.

The dashcam video showed Rodthong run multiple red lights, missing cross traffic at 16th Street, ultimately T-boning another car and crashing. Rodthong ran off, but police caught up a block away. Both he and Davis were shot in the incident.

Davis had injuries to his left shoulder and left flank from Rodthong’s gunfire. The bullet that entered his shoulder traveled into his chest near his sternum. He walked out of the hospital the next day. 

"It wasn’t done intentionally or purposefully," said Rodthong. "It was an accident."

While Rodthong asked for leniency, Officer Davis' mother sought the max, saying her son still suffers from physical and emotional trauma, unsure if he'll ever go back to working the job he dreamed of doing since he was 8.

"I expect justice today for my son, every citizen who lives in fear each day because of this reckless and inexcusable violence and for every person who wears the badge for all of the right reasons," said Crystal Thompson, Davis' mother.

"At the end of the day, people need to know that our police officers risk their lives every day, and when we do something to try and kill them – which is what happened here – that the community’s not safe with people like that in our community," said Judge David Feiss.

Officer shot near 25th and St. Paul, Milwaukee

Rodthong has three open felony cases relating to operating without consent, running from cops, resisting, drug possession and bail jumping, set for trial in June.