'Sigh of relief:' Suspect arrested in shooting death of Racine Officer John Hetland

John Hetland

RACINE -- Police say the man suspected of shooting and killing Racine Police Officer John Hetland was arrested on Thursday, June 27. The news comes just one day after Hetland was laid to rest.

Officer John Hetland was shot while attempting to intervene during an armed robbery at Teezers bar near 20th and Lathrop Avenue in Racine on Monday night, June 17.

Since that fateful night, thousands of hours of work by investigators spanning 17 agencies and two states ended in the culmination of the man police believe pulled the trigger.

Police say crime lab information led them to a suspect.

"Several days ago, I was pretty confident we would have somebody in custody. I didn't know when but today I do," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

The suspect, only identified by Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth as a man, was picked up in Milwaukee Thursday afternoon.

"I can only tell you it's an ongoing investigation and we're working closely with Kenosha County Sheriff's Office," said Capt. William Beauchene, Milwaukee Police Department.

Around the same time Racine and Kenosha County officials announced the arrest, Milwaukee police were investigating near 28th and Wells.

"One thing I can share with you is that a short while ago, he is wearing officer Hetland's handcuffs, that is how he was taken to jail and that part feels good," said Capt. Beauchene.

David Beth

The arrest brings some closure.

David Beth

"We can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that somebody is in custody," said Sheriff Beth.

"I'm pleased with the news that broke tonight, but I'm not happy, because it should have never happened," said Racine Police Chief Art Howell.

Officer Hetland, a 24-year veteran of the department, also served as a board member on the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA.) Those who knew Officer Hetland said although he was off the clock, Officer Hetland was never really “off-duty.” Officer Hetland left behind two children and countless loved ones.

John Hetland