A retired judge was shot and killed at his home in Wisconsin on Friday in what has been described by officials as a “targeted” attack against the judicial system.
John Roemer, a former circuit judge in Juneau County, is believed to be the victim of the murder that happened in New Lisbon at around 6:30 a.m. on June 3, according to reports. The 68-year-old man was found in a residence that a neighbor and public records said belonged to a retired county judge.
A second person, identified as a 56-year-old male and the alleged suspect, was discovered in the basement of the home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said during a news conference on Friday, also noting that a firearm was recovered from the scene.
Upon recovering the man, law enforcement started life-saving measures and the individual has been transported to a medical facility in critical condition.
Kaul, who refused to name the victim or the suspect, said the shooter had selected targets who were “part of the judicial system” and had other planned victims. The attorney general did not identify them.
“This incident appears to be a targeted act … and the suspect appears to have had other targets as well. It appears to be related to the judicial system,” Kaul said.
“At this point, we are not aware of any evidence indicating that there is any active danger to other individuals. Those who may have been other targets have been notified,” he said, adding that if the investigation finds additional threats against other individuals, authorities will notify those people.
Kaul stressed that officials are currently “limited in what information we can provide,” citing the ongoing investigation.
The judge’s death was also confirmed in a statement by State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), who represents Juneau County, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call that two shots were fired at a home in New Lisbon at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday, according to the Division of Criminal Investigation. The caller had fled the home where the gunman had entered and made the call from another nearby home.
Donna Voss, a neighbor, told The Associated Press that local police instructed her to stay in her home Friday morning. She said she heard law enforcement on a loudspeaker telling the man to surrender and leave the home.
Kaul said during Friday’s press briefing that law enforcement officers stationed outside the home tried to negotiate with the gunman, but after they failed to make contact, a special tactic and response team entered the residence and found the homeowner dead and another man in the basement.
For Voss, the shooting came as a shock in a usually quiet neighborhood where houses sit alongside farmland and wooded lots, about 80 miles northwest of Madison.
“It’s unbelievable and really freaky,” she told The Associated Press.