MAUSTON — The Mauston community where retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer was killed is grieving his death.
Judge Roemer spent the majority of his time serving as the council president at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church where they called him "Jack" as a nickname.
"He became the president of our congregation. Jack had a wonderful sense of humor and he was very generous and kind, non-judgmental," said Marilyn Storandt, a close family friend.
His sudden death has been a shock to the congregation as they vividly remember him sitting in the pews the week prior.
"It was and still is very numbing to imagine that this happened in our little town but to a very close friend," said Storandt.
Officials believe the retired judge was shot and killed in a targeted attack Friday morning. They believe the suspect had a hit list that included U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
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According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the suspect is believed to be Douglas Udhe, 56. Officers found Udhe in the basement with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He survived and is in critical condition. Court records show that Roemer had sentenced Uhde to 6 years in prison for armed burglary and several other firearm charges.
"I think people that came in today were I can't believe this happened because the judge was just here. I know people when they had hard times, he was there for them," said Randy Marschall, neighbor, and friend of Judge Roemer.
Marschall is now hoping he can be the same for Roemer's family as he leaves three kids behind. After learning one of his sons was present during the attack and was able to escape, he immediately checked in.
"I was just so happy that he got out the window, and I know that would've been Jacks's biggest concern with his son getting out," said Marschall.
Funeral arrangements for the former judge are still to be determined.