Former Wisconsin judge fatally shot at home; suspected shooter identified

MAUSTON, Wis. — A former Wisconsin judge was fatally shot in his home Friday morning in what authorities are calling a targeted attack by a gunman who also had other government officials on a “hit list,” authorities said.

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John Roemer, 68, a former Juneau County judge, was killed in the Township of New Lisbon, WISN-TV reported.

Update 10:06 a.m. EDT June 5: Wisconsin Department of Justice investigators identified the suspect accused of killing John Roemer as 56-year-old Douglas Uhde, WISN-TV reported.

Officers said Uhde was found in the basement of former judge John Roemer on Friday with a self-inflicted wound. Uhde is in critical condition at an area hospital, according to the television station.

Original report: At a news conference on Friday, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said that the shooting appeared “to be based on some sort of court case or court cases,” according to The New York Times.

Kaul added that “we are not aware of any evidence indicating that there is any active danger to other individuals.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kaul said the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 6:30 a.m. CDT Friday about an armed person in a New Lisbon home where two shots had been fired. The caller had been inside the home but left and contacted authorities from a nearby residence, Kaul told reporters.

The Juneau County Special Tactics and Response Team attempted to negotiate with the armed man and entered Roemer’s home at about 10:15 a.m. CDT, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Kaul said officers found Roemer dead inside the home, then discovered a 56-year-old man whom they believe was the shooter. The man was in the basement of Roemer’s home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the newspaper.

The alleged shooter’s name has not been released.

“This as I mentioned before does appear to be a targeted act and the individual who is a suspect appears to have had other targets as well,” Kaul said during the news conference. “It appears to be related to the judicial system.”

“Those who may have been other targets have been notified of that, but we are not aware of any active threat to individuals. If we become aware of any specific ongoing threat, we will certainly notify people when we are aware of that.”

A law enforcement official told WISN that the “hit list” included Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Kaul did not provide such a list during the news conference.

Roemer, known as Jack, was first elected to the Juneau County Circuit Court in 2004, according to the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. He ran unopposed and was reelected in 2010 and 2016. He resigned in August 2017, citing his wife’s declining health, the newspaper reported.

Vivian Roemer died on Aug. 8, 2018, according to her obituary.

Before becoming a judge, John Roemer was a Juneau County assistant district attorney for 12 years, the Tribune reported. He also spent five years as an assistant state public defender in Baraboo, according to The Third Branch, a Wisconsin court system publication.

Roemer retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel in 2002. He graduated from Hamline University Law School in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1980.

Roemer was a “brilliant legal scholar who devoted an incredible amount of time to doing the right thing,” Scott Southworth, who was Juneau County district attorney from 2005 to 2013, told the Tribune.

“I learned a great deal from him,” Southworth told the newspaper.