MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee police officer was shot and killed early Tuesday while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect, who was also shot and killed after a physical struggle with the officer.
The officer had been chasing after, and exchanged gunfire with, a 19-year-old man, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said, although it was unclear as of Tuesday evening whether or not his injuries were self-inflicted.
Norman said the officer, later identified as 37-year-old Peter Jerving, had four years of experience. He was part of a group of officers who at 1:16 a.m. responded to a block on the city's south side to check for a man wanted in connection with a robbery that occurred Monday at 11:25 p.m.
"Milwaukee, our hearts are heavy," Norman said, at times appearing emotional during a brief press conference near the scene. "One of our finest, who put on that uniform, put on that badge, went into work last night and paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our community.
Chief: Man fled on foot, chase ensued
Norman said "multiple officers" on the city’s northwest side were checking for a robbery suspect about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday.The robbery had been reported at about 11:25 p.m. Monday.
On the south side, officers encountered the 19-year-old man who ignored their orders and ran away, Norman said.
One officer caught up with the man, a struggle ensued and the man fired a handgun, hitting Jerving, who authorities said was running to help.
Jerving was wounded, returned fire and later died from his injuries at the hospital, Norman said.
The information released early Tuesday was preliminary. The investigation is being led by the Brookfield Police Department.
Suspect's mother shocked by news, says police have given her little information
The suspect in the officer’s shooting is Terrell I. Thompson, of Milwaukee, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation but who were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
Thompson's family also confirmed the information to the Journal Sentinel later Tuesday, with his mother, Tamera Brown, saying she was still in shock and disbelief of the news.
She said she spoke to her son Monday after he received his probation sentence and he seemed to take it in stride. She said she was not aware of any other personal issues he might have been facing.
“He seemed ok with it,” Brown said. “He was just going to get through with it. It was only 12 months, so he said he was just going to knock it out and stay out of trouble.”
Thompson had just been in court Monday morning for sentencing on two misdemeanor hit-and-run cases, one of which was dismissed in a plea agreement. Each charge had carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Christopher Dee sentenced Thompson to four months in the House of Correction, but then stayed, or postponed, that sentence for a year of probation instead. That meant Thompson would only serve the jail time if he failed on probation.
Brown said police have given her little information about what happened, other than the fact that a “shootout” was involved. She said she does not think her son would take his own life and was worried about the level of emergency care her son received after the shooting.
Brown said Thompson has four siblings and went church with his family. She said she knew him as a kid who loved his family.
Four years after another Milwaukee police shooting
The shooting is the Police Department's first death in the line of duty since four officers died in such a manner between 2018 and 2019, and almost four years to the day after Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner was shot and killed while executing a search warrant.
Rittner, a U.S. Marine who was deployed twice to Iraq before joining Milwaukee's force, died on Feb. 6, 2019. He was 35.
The fatally shooting also took place on the city's south side.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee police officer fatally shot, man dead after struggle: Chief