Standing room only at vigil for fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Rittner

Big support at vigil for MPD fallen officer
Posted at 9:53 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 23:10:54-05

People came together in the community to remember fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner at a vigil Friday night.

It was standing room only inside Zablocki Elementary School’s auditorium with friends and first responders filling the seats.

But there were also strangers who came to show they cared.

“I wanted to support the family,” said Jane Rohrer of Greenfield.

“I was friends with Matt in high school,” said Ashley Theres.

“I knew Matt and his wife,” said Chris McMurry.

People like McMurry are suffering a double loss. He became friends with Rittner because he is also a city worker. Just two days after RIttner’s death, one of his coworkers, Bryan Rodriguez, was also killed in a hit and run crash.

“It hits home for everybody that’s a big family,” said McMurry.

It’s also hard on Jessi Senda and her family. Her daughter was friends with Rittner. But she was close with the Milwaukee Police Officer killed in the line of duty over the summer, Officer Michael Michalski.

“I knew Officer Michalski very well so it’s very difficult to see something like this to happen all over again,” said Senda.

It’s a feeling shared among the police officers.

“Its not easy, we’ve lost three in eight months. And i personally feel the compounding of pain,” said Shawn Lauda, Milwaukee Police Union president. “I can tell you we are hurting. A lot of our guys are hurting.”

Friday night, people hugged and shook hands with the officers, thanking them for their service.

“They are out there protecting us while they are feeling the pain but they are professional, they still have to answer that call,” said Laura.

"It just eats at your heart. I mean there is nothing you can do,” said Senda.