The gunman who shot and killed a Wisconsin judge had a list that included the Michigan governor as one of his targets. Gretchen Whitmer and Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, were among the targets. Tony Evers, Whitmer’s office and a law enforcement source stated Saturday.
Douglas K. Uhde (56), who has not been indicted, is suspected of murdering retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer on Friday at Roemer’s New Lisbon home, according to a news release by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Saturday.
After police attempted to negotiate with Uhde, police found him in the basement with a self-inflicted shot wound. According to DOJ officials, Uhde is currently in critical condition.
Josh Kaul, Wisconsin Attorney General, stated Friday that the shooting seemed to have been a "targeted attack" and that the gunman selected targets who were "part the judicial system."
Investigators suspect that the gunman may also have intended to target government officials. A list containing the names of prominent elected leaders was found in the gunman's vehicle, according to a law enforcement official. According to the official, Roemer was not the only target on the list. Whitmer, McConnell, and Evers were also included.
Officials said Roemer was zip-tied to his chair and had been shot. The official was unable to discuss the details of the investigation publicly, but spoke with The Associated Press under anonymity.
Uhde has a long criminal and prison history dating back at most two decades. This includes a Roemer case in which he was sentenced to six years imprisonment on weapons charges. In April 2020, he was released from his previous prison sentence.
Zach Pohl was Whitmer's deputy chief-of-staff and stated that her office was informed that Whitmer's name had been "on the Wisconsin gunman’s list."
Pohl stated that Governor Whitmer has repeatedly shown she is tough and will not be intimidated from her job. She will also work across the aisle to get things done in Michigan for the people.
After she was accused of inciting anger over COVID-19 restrictions, and refusing condemnation for right-wing extremists, Whitmer was the target of criticism and protests.
Two of four men were acquitted in a trial that was held earlier in the year. Two of the men were acquitted by the jury. The verdicts for the two remaining was not unanimous.
Chip Wilke, pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church Mauston, said that Roemer, 68 was a "very loving and very encouraging man with a wonderful Sense of Humor who will be greatly missed". He was there several mornings per week."
Wilke stated that after being notified about Roemer's passing Friday, the pastor thought "I'm glad Jesus is here and we know where He's at."
Roemer resigned from the bench in 2017. Roemer was first elected to the bench in 2004. He was reelected in 2010 as well. Prior to that, he was an assistant district attorney in Juneau County as well as an assistant state public defense. He was also a private practitioner and served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Investigators stated that there is no immediate threat to the public.
Kaul stated that "the information that was gathered indicated it was a targeted action and that the targeting was based upon some type of court case or court trials."
According to the Division of Criminal Investigation, two shots were fired at New Lisbon home at 6:30 a.m. on Friday by Juneau County Sheriff's Office. The caller had fled from the house and called another nearby home.
Donna Voss, a neighbor said she heard police on a loudspeaker calling for the man's surrender and to leave the house. Roemer was the owner of the house, according to public records.
According to the Division of Criminal Investigation, officers from outside attempted to negotiate with the gunman but were unsuccessful and eventually entered the house shortly after 10:10 a.m. Juneau County Special Tactics and Response Team discovered the homeowner, aged 68 years old, dead and a 56 year-old man trapped in the basement with a gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital.
Kaul stated that the suspect was in critical condition.
Voss was shocked by the shooting in a quiet neighborhood, where houses are surrounded by farmland, just 80 miles north of Madison.
She said, "It's incredible and really freaky."
New Lisbon is a county in central Wisconsin that has approximately 2,500 residents.