Veteran Milwaukee police officer shot to death while pursuing suspect

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Milwaukee police are working to determine the circumstances of the shooting death of a 17-year veteran who was killed while he and other officers were trying to arrest a suspect, authorities said Thursday.

Officer Michael J. Michalski, 52, was a member of the department’s special investigations team that was searching Wednesday for 30-year-old Jonathan C. Copeland Jr., who was wanted on drug and gun charges, police said.

Fallen Milwaukee officer Michael Michalski, 52. 

According to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, Copeland was seen running into a house. “When officers entered the home, the suspect fired multiple times at officers. They returned fire and ultimately took the suspect into custody,” Morales said. Police said Copeland was not harmed in the incident.

Morales, with a line of officers behind him, became emotional, tearing up as he described the officer’s last moments. Michalski was transported to Froedtert Hospital, where he was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries.

Hours later, Michalski’s body was escorted to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office by dozens of his fellow officers in their police vehicles.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who joined Morales at the news conference, said, “A loss like this is a tremendous loss for our city. I encourage everyone to thank our officers for the work that they do.”

Michalski is the second Milwaukee police officer to be killed this year. Authorities said Michalski was loved by everyone and leaves behind his wife, Susan, and three children.

Police have not said if any charges will be filed against Copeland, who is being held in the county jail.

At a Thursday morning news conference, Morales said Copeland had an extensive juvenile and adult criminal history. CNN was not able to determine if Copeland has an attorney.

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