St. Croix County Deputy Kaitie Leising laid to rest Friday
The funeral for fallen St. Croix County Deputy Kaitie Leising was held on Friday afternoon, following a public visitation at the Hudson High School. Flags in the state have been ordered to fly at half-staff Friday in honor of Leising.
According to Hubbard Broadcasting’s KSTP, roughly 1,500 officers were expected to attend the event, many were at the high school early Friday morning when the hearse arrived and helped guide the casket inside. A law enforcement procession will take place around 3 p.m.
Leising’s death is the third time within the past month where a law enforcement officer died in the line of duty in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald spoke Friday to show support for the community after two officers died in his county last month.
“It gets you emotional and you know, you try not to be as the leader, you don’t want to be weak – but weakness is okay. And together, we’ll get through it and that’s okay too. It’s going to be really touching this afternoon and we do that for Kaitie and her family and then to our brothers and sisters at the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department,” said Sheriff Fitzgerald.
Leising, 29, was responding to reports of a driver in the ditch near Glenwood City, Wisconsin, on Saturday night.
Around 6:15 p.m., Leising arrived at the scene near the intersection of Highway 128 and County Road G. There, she encountered a car in a ditch and another vehicle with people who had pulled over to help.
Leising asked the driver of the car in the ditch, 34-year-old Jeremiah Johnson, to perform a field sobriety test, but he was “evasive,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a news release.
That’s when investigators say he shot Leising, who fired three rounds back at him, but they all missed.
The good Samaritans who had pulled over tried to save Leising’s life, but she was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the Wisconsin DOJ.
Johnson was later found dead next to a gun after running into the nearby woods.
Law enforcement officers and community members are invited to attend a prayer vigil hosted by a former police chaplain at the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol Friday night starting at 6 p.m.