Milwaukee police shooting suspect charged, $1M cash bail

Jetrin Rodthong, 22, has been charged with eight counts surrounding the shooting of a Milwaukee police officer and theft of his squad car on Thursday evening, Jan. 27:

  • Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
  • Operating vehicle without owner's consent, armed carjacking
  • Bail jumping (three counts)
  • Second-degree recklessly endangering safety
  • Hit-and-run resulting in injury
  • Possession of Methamphetamine

According to a criminal complaint, police received a call shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday about a man slumped over in a vehicle near 25th Street and St. Paul Avenue. The caller said he attempted to make contact with the driver of the vehicle, and the driver looked up at the caller, but his head slumped back down.

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A single police officer responded to the vehicle shortly before 6:15 p.m. and attempted to make contact with the driver, who was seen on body camera footage slumped over the console of the car. After the officer entered the unlocked driver's side door and removed the keys from the ignition, the driver, later identified as Rodthong, sat upright and moved his hands to shield what was later determined to be a firearm on his lap, the complaint says.

Officer shot near 25th and St. Paul, Milwaukee

Rodthong admitted to drinking alcohol and the officer called for backup, the complaint says. Rodthong is seen on camera following the officer's orders to get out of his vehicle but began looking around for what officers assumed to be an escape route. The officer told Rodthong to "come stand right here, please." Rodthong complied but continued to keep his right side facing away from the officer as if hiding something on his right side, according to prosecutors. As Rodthong moved away from the Dodge and cleared the open driver's side door, the complaint says he tried to run east on St. Paul.

As the officer tried to grab Rodthong's arm, a struggle ensued. Multiple gunshots were heard, and the officer's body camera fell off. Dash camera footage shows Rodthong shooting twice at the officer, according to prosecutors. The officer reacted by shooting "two or three times" at Rodthong. As Rodthong hid behind the door of his vehicle, the officer fired five times in the direction of the defendant. Rodthong's gun malfunctioned, and he recoiled behind the door again. The officer again fired one more shot as Rodthong ran, with a gun in his hand, back to the squad car.

Officer shot near 25th and St. Paul, Milwaukee

Nineteen seconds after the last gunshot was heard, the officer dispatched that he needed medical assistance and that his squad had been stolen, headed eastbound on St. Paul.

Prosecutors say Rodthong drove the squad east on St. Paul at a high rate of speed, traveling east to 13th Street, where he disregarded the red light and turned left to head north on 13th Street. 

Rodthong drove north to W. Clybourn St., where the complaint says he disregarded the red light and again turned left, now heading west on Clybourn. He continued west, disregarding the red light at 16th Street while traveling around 65mph. Ultimately, while disregarding the red light at 17th Street, he struck the driver’s side of a vehicle that was southbound on 17th Street, entering the intersection of W. Clybourn Street. Prosecutors say Rodthong slowed slightly before impact.

Two people in a Chrysler Pacifica were taken to the hospital with injuries. 

Officer shot near 25th and St. Paul, Milwaukee

Prosecutors say Rodthong fled on foot and was apprehended by officers near 17th and Wisconsin. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds to both of his arms and was taken to the hospital for treatment. 

A search of his front right pants pocket revealed the following, according to the complaint:

  • Clear crystalline substance in a clear plastic bag which tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl, 1.29 grams;
  • A green-tinted, white chalky substance in foil wrapping which tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl, 0.5 grams
  • A green-tinted white powdery substance wrapped in a $1.00 bill which tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl, 0.32 grams
  • A brown chunky substance wrapped in a $1.00 bill which tested positive for opiates, .75 grams

A pink and black gun was found inside the stolen squad car, according to the complaint.

Officer shot near 25th and St. Paul, Milwaukee

In an interview with police, Rodthong said he had recently purchased the drugs, that he uses meth and heroin and that he had used them prior to his contact with the police officer. He stated that he was not sure how he got to where he was parked but that the officer woke him up. He stated that the officer asked him his name and then asked him to get out of the vehicle. He stated that during this exchange with the officer, he had a pink 9mm gun in his waistband, according to the complaint. When asked what happened next, referring to the shooting, Rodthong would not acknowledge the shooting but repeated that he just wanted to get away. 

Rodthong's initial court appearance

Rodthong made his initial appearance in court Sunday, Jan. 30. Cash bail was set at $1 million. 

The state argued in favor of the $1 million, noting his three open cases and stating, "The defendant was released, so we know he's committing crimes while out on bail."

The defense argued that, while Rodthong has pending court matters, he has "no convictions whatsoever" and "no money to his name."

Court Commissioner Maria Dorsey had this to say in setting bail:

"I have listened to the bail recommendations, reviewed all your risk factors, reviewed the three pending cases that looks like were all 2020 cases that you picked up rather quickly, even though prior to that, there's no juvenile record, no criminal record, and then there's these allegations, which are just mind-boggling. This is a case where the officer allegedly was there to do a welfare check because people were concerned about your welfare in the car, and this is the result of all of that. An officer was shot, other people were injured, a squad car was taken and you possessed a firearm, allegedly, and there were also the methamphetamine. This is definitely a high cash bail. You were out on three cases where someone posted $3,000 after you sat in jail for three months, and you were out and did not come back to court. With having three pending open cases and now these outrageous charges, $1 million is definitely going to be your bail in this case."

Rodthong out on bail in 3 felony cases

The 22-year-old has three open felony cases from 2020 and was out on bail in each at the time of the shooting but had an active bench warrant from October 2021 for court no-shows in each case. In the latest two cases, Rodthong was charged with bail jumping.

Jetrin Rodthong

The first case was filed in March 2020 and charges him with vehicle operator flee/elude officer.

The second was filed in August 2020 and charges him with drive/operate vehicle without consent, felony bail jumping and resisting or obstructing an officer.

The third was filed at the end of August 2020 and charges him with vehicle operator flee/elude officer, causing damage to property, driver or operate vehicle without consent, possession of narcotic drugs and felony bail jumping.

3rd Milwaukee-area law enforcement officer shot in 2 weeks leaves hospital

Wheeled out of Froedtert Hospital, MPD Officer Herbert Davis stood to cheers and applause from dozens of his Milwaukee Police Department coworkers, friends and family on Friday afternoon.  

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

"As much as we help the community, they’ll help us, as well. It really means a lot," Davis said. "You expect that from your brothers and sisters, but you don’t know what you’re getting in certain situations."

Davis, who has seven years of service with MPD and works at District 3, said two strangers came to his aid after he was shot Thursday night.

Davis credited his training for being able to go home just a day after the incident.

"I'm thankful for all the people that have been there, trained me and worked with down the road. Very thankful for them," said Davis.

Davis was the third Milwaukee-area law enforcement officer shot and injured in the past two weeks. An off-duty MPD detective was shot in the Third Ward on Jan. 13, and a Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Milwaukee woman shot in domestic violence incident; man arrested

Police are investigating a shooting that happened near 29th and Wisconsin around 12:15 a.m. Sunday. It stemmed from a domestic violence incident, police say.