A gunman suspected of fatally shooting a retired county judge at a Wisconsin home had a list that included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Whitmer’s office and a police source said Saturday.
Douglas K. Uhde, 56, who has not been charged, is suspected of killing retired Juneau County judge John Roemer at Roemer’s home in New Lisbon on Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said in a statement on Saturday. press release.
Uhde was found in the basement of the house with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, following attempts by police to negotiate with him. Uhde is hospitalized in critical condition, DOJ officials said.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Friday that the shooting appeared to be a “targeted act.” and that the gunman had selected people who were “part of the judicial system.”
But investigators believe the gunman may also have planned to attack other government officials and found a list in his vehicle that contained the names of several other prominent elected leaders, a law enforcement official said. Other targets on the list, which Roemer mentioned, included Evers, McConnell and Whitmer, the official said.
Roemer was found zipped to a chair in his home and had been shot dead, the official said. The officer was unable to discuss the details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Uhde has an extensive criminal and prison record dating back at least two decades, including a case in which Roemer sentenced him to six years in prison on gun charges. He was released from his final stage in prison in April 2020.
Zach Pohl, Whitmer’s deputy chief of staff, said his office received a notice that his name appeared “on the Wisconsin Gunmen’s List.”
“Governor Whitmer has repeatedly shown that she is tough and will not be harassed or intimidated into doing her job and working through the aisle to get things done for the people of Michigan,” Pohl said.
Whitmer became the subject of protests and criticism after blaming former President Donald Trump for fueling anger over VOCID-19 restrictions and refusing to condemn right-wing extremists.
A trial was held earlier this year in which four men charged in an alleged kidnapping plot by the Michigan Democrat resulted in the acquittal of two of the men.. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict for the other two.
Roemer, 68, was a “very loving, very encouraging man with a wonderful sense of humor who will be sorely missed” by the community, said Chip Wilke, pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Paul at Mauston, where Roemer was president of the congregation and evangelization. “I was in my office several mornings a week.”
Wilke said after being notified of Roemer’s death on Friday the pastor’s thought was “I’m glad we have Jesus and we know where he is.”
Roemer retired from the bench in 2017. He was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016. He had previously served as assistant attorney for the Juneau County district and assistant state attorney general. He also worked in private practice and served as a lieutenant colonel for U.S. Army reserves.
Researchers said there was no immediate danger to the population.
“The information that has been gathered indicates that it was a targeted act and that the guidance was based on some sort of court case or court cases,” Kaul said.
According to the Criminal Investigation Division, the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call in which two shots were fired at a New Lisbon home at 6:30 a.m. Friday. The caller had fled the house and made the call from another nearby home.
Donna Voss, a neighbor, told the Associated Press that she heard law enforcement through a loudspeaker telling the man to surrender and leave the house.
For Voss, the shooting was a shock in a normally quiet neighborhood where houses are located next to farmland and woods, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of Madison.
“It’s amazing and really weird,” he said.
New Lisbon, with a population of about 2,500 people, is located in Juneau County in central Wisconsin.
Kolpack reported from Fargo, North Dakota. Balsamo reported from Washington, DC