A year after her husband died in the line of duty, Caroline Rittner shared for the first time what she remembers about that day and how life has been without the love of her life.
“He loved his sports. He wanted to be a sports newscaster,” said Caroline.
However, Matthew Rittner decided to become a cop. Caroline knew her husband’s job came with risks.
“I drowned it out or worry the whole time. I did it to cope with everything," she said.
Yet, she also knew he lived to serve and protect as a Milwaukee police officer.
“He loved what he did. He really truly did," said Caroline.
The two had a pact she tearfully revealed.
“He always promised he was coming home.”
But on the morning of Feb. 6, 2019, Rittner, a member of the tactical team, went to serve a search warrant on a suspected guns and drug dealer. Minutes later, Rittner was shot and killed. Caroline went from newlywed to widow.
“Its not his fault. It just breaks my heart. He didn't deserve it," said Caroline.
Days after Matt's death, Caroline learned she was pregnant. She welcomed their daughter Mattie into the world in September.
“I get to see Matt every day pretty much and that's a beautiful reminder," said Caroline. “I can't wait to tell her stories, and I just hope people from MPD tell her stories and marine buddies too.”
The couple also has a 5-year-old son named Kent. He still doesn’t understand why daddy isn't coming home.
“I feel bad because now he's trying to associate that with, for example, like batteries die so why can't we put new batteries in daddy?"
The past year has not been easy processing the grief, but Caroline says the support she has received from family and the community sustains her.
And while the community remembers a hero, Caroline wants people to know the man she loved also loved this community until the end.
“My heart, I'm so grateful because I don't know what I would do with all the support it's been amazing it really has been.”
Doc's Commerce Smokehouse is holding a fundraiser on Saturday, February 22 that will honor Milwaukee's fallen heroes: