Investigation Continues In Execution-Style Shooting Of Wisconsin Judge

The suspect in the killing of a retired judge in Wisconsin remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday as investigators continued to unravel what happened in the hours leading up to the Friday morning fatal shooting.

A spokesperson said the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) had no new update on the case Monday.

Juneau County Sheriff’s Department deputies were sent to the home of retired Judge John Roemer, 68, Friday morning after a report of gunshots by a caller who had been in the home and managed to get out. A report on WISN-TV Channel 12 in Milwaukee identified the caller as Roemer’s son, who told neighbors his father had been killed.

According to the DOJ, there were “failed attempts to negotiate” with the suspect in the shooting, who remained in the home. A tactical unit broke into the house, where they found Roemer zip-tied to a chair, according to WISN, and dead from a gunshot. Officers found Douglas K. Uhde, 56. in the basement with a gunshot wound that authorities said was self-inflicted, along with an unidentified firearm.

Uhde was hospitalized in critical condition. DOJ has identified him as a suspect in Roemer’s shooting death.

Attorney General Josh Kaul described the incident as a “targeted” killing. Authorities found a list of names that Uhde is suspected to have drawn up. “The individual who’s a suspect appears to have had other targets as well, appears to be related to the judicial system,” Kaul told reporters during a Saturday briefing.

The list reportedly included Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers as well as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, both Democrats, and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican and the U.S. Senate minority leader, according to several news outlets quoting unnamed sources. Whitmer’s office also confirmed that she was among those listed, the Michigan Advance reported.

Asked about the incident at an event on Saturday, Evers told reporters that “a judge from a rural county is targeted and murdered, it’s just abhorrent to our judiciary and to leadership in our state and our county.”

Evers said he wouldn’t comment on details of the investigation. “It’s a horrible situation,” he said. “I grieve for him. I grieve for his family. And God, we can do better than this in Wisconsin.”

While DOJ is investigating the incident as potential domestic terrorism, Kaul’s office said there was “no immediate danger to the public,” which would suggest that authorities believe Uhde acted alone.

Online Wisconsin court records show that Uhde, who has a criminal and prison record going back more than two decades, was sentenced by Roemer in 2005. The prison sentence was on a burglary and weapons conviction from 2001.

A former public defender and later prosecutor, Roemer was elected judge in 2004 and reelected in 2010 and 2016, retiring in 2017.

This story first ran in the Advance‘s sister outlet, the Wisconsin Examiner.

Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

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