Off-duty officer shot and killed trying to stop armed robbery


RACINE, Wis. – A veteran police officer was shot and killed Monday night after trying to stop an armed robbery in progress, authorities confirmed.

Officer John Hetland was identified as the fallen officer.

Off-duty officer shot and killed trying to stop armed robbery
Officer John Hetland was allegedly killed while trying to stop an armed robbery. (Racine PD)


Officer Hetland was off-duty at the time. Reports indicated that Hetland was at Teezers Tavern in Racine, Wisconsin when at least one armed suspect entered the bar. As the suspect attempted to rob the tavern, Hetland saw what was happening and immediately stepped in to intervene.

But while trying to subdue the suspect, Hetland was shot. The wound was fatal. The investigation is ongoing, and as of the publishing of this article, no arrests have been made by police.

Anyone with information can contact the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department at 262-656-1234. Citizens who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330, or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text message should begin with RACS.


Officer Hetland was a 24-year veteran of the Racine Police Department. According to Police Chief Art Howell, Hetland was a trusted and highly respected member of the force, serving in various positions over the years including an assignment as a field training officer, as well as a member of the Greater Racine FBI Gang Task Force. He is survived by his two children and parents.

A red code alert message was put out by the Racine PD after the shooting occurred on Monday evening. 

The alert read: 

“This is the Racine Police Department with a safety message. A shooting occurred in the 1900 block of Lathrop Avenue, and we are searching for the suspect. We are asking that you turn on your exterior lights and remain indoors. Please call 262-656-1234, if you see anyone suspicious; do not confront them. Please contact us if you have any information relating to the shooting. If you have a Ring doorbell camera or any external video system, please review your video for anything suspicious or anyone fleeing. If you find something, please contact us at 262-656-1234. We will recall with an update once the situation stabilizes.”

Off-duty officer shot and killed trying to stop armed robbery
Hetland attempted to stop a robbery in progress at Teezers Tavern in Racine, Wisconsin. (Google Maps)


Officer Hetland is gone, but not forgotten. Rest in peace, brother. We’ve got it from here.

Officer John Hetland

EOW: Monday, June 17, 2019


Off-duty officer shot and killed trying to stop armed robbery

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