(Video Credit: FOX6 News Milwaukee)
A 56-year-old Wisconsin man with a hit list that included Governor Tony Evers and others, broke into the home of a retired judge and murdered him before attempting to take his own life.
The attack happened on Friday while former Juneau County Judge John Roemer’s son was home with him. He managed to escape but reportedly heard the shots that killed his father in what state officials are calling a “targeted act.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story reporting that law enforcement officials were at the home of the judge in Lisbon and that “the subdivision is closed to all traffic except residents.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul spoke with the press and released a statement concerning the murder. The state has launched a criminal investigation into the matter.
“On Friday, June 3 at approximately 6:30 a.m. the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call notifying law enforcement of an armed person and two shots fired in a Township of New Lisbon residence,” the statement read. “Following failed attempts to negotiate with the individual in the home, at approximately 10:17 a.m. the Juneau County Special Tactics and Response Team entered the residence and located the homeowner, a sixty-eight-year-old male, deceased.”
The caller, who was not named but could potentially be the son, evidently exited the home and then contacted law enforcement.
The Wisconsin DOJ said in a statement that when SWAT entered the home, they found Roemer zip-tied to a chair and fatally shot.
“A fifty-six-year-old male was located in the basement with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the statement noted as well as saying that the attacker was in critical condition. “Law enforcement began life-saving measures, and the individual was transported to a medical facility. A firearm was recovered at the scene.”
The suspect, John Mercure, was an alleged militia member who had a hit list that included the state’s governor, Tony Evers, the Daily Mail reported.
A law enforcement official commented that the “hit list” was found in the suspect’s vehicle which included Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“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. It appears to be related to the judicial system,” Kaul said Friday during a news conference
“At this point, we are not aware of any evidence that there is any active danger to other individuals,” Kaul added. “Those who may have been other targets have been notified.”
The investigation is being handled as both a homicide and as a possible case of domestic terrorism.
The Division of Criminal Investigation is leading this investigation and is being assisted by the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, the Mauston Police Department, the Elroy Police Department, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services, and the FBI.
Donna Voss, a neighbor who lives next door, told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she was shocked by the murder.
“One of my neighbors called and said what’s going on, what’s going on?” she recounted. “It was really surprising something like this would happen around here. I still can’t comprehend it.”
“He was such a nice guy. Church goer. It’s terrible,” Voss said.
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