RACINE — The Racine Police Department worked tirelessly to put the man they believe to be Officer John Hetland's killer behind bars, but it wasn’t easy —17 law enforcement agencies aided in this effort, working thousands of hours to get the job done.
“I am so happy. I can feel safe now,” Regina Werth said.
Safety was reaffirmed for neighbors less than 24 hours after an arrest.
Dalquavis Ward, 26, the suspect in the shooting death of Hetland, is now behind bars.
“(When I heard what happened), I was like really upset. I mean, he had a family. He has two children, 8 and 15. Now they have no father,” Werth said.
Police arrested Ward on Thursday evening in Milwaukee. The reward for his arrest was up to $78,000.
Hetland was off duty at the time of the incident. He stepped in to stop an armed robbery when he was killed. Ward’s arrest came one day after Hetland's funeral and a week after the vigil Werth attended to honor his life.
“I wanted to pay my respects. He was brave. He did this out of the kindness of his heart. He wasn’t even on duty,” Werth said.
TODAY'S TMJ4 is working to confirm the details that led to the arrest and what police plan to do with the reward money. The Kenosha Sheriff’s Department isn't releasing anything further about the case.
Ward's criminal history started at age 15, when he was convicted for an armed robbery — a felony — meaning he has been prohibited from possessing a gun since 2008.
In 2015, Ward was convicted of strangling his girlfriend. Police also found a firearm inside his home then.
In 2016, he was convicted of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor after entering into a plea deal for a more serious charge.