MILWAUKEE, Wis. – An off-duty sergeant with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections was gunned down in public after an argument began over a car accident where she was teaching her son to drive, Fox 6 reported.

Police have arrested Matthew Wilks of Whitefish Bay in connection with her death.


Police say that Matthew Wilks pulled out a gun and killed a DOC sergeant after a traffic accident. (Milwaukee Police Department)


According to reports, Sgt. Tracey Smith was heading to a clothing store on August 30. Smith had been teaching the teenage boy to drive, and so he was behind the wheel. The criminal complaint claims that as Smith’s son was making a turn, a gold van that was on the passenger side of his car cut him off and attempted to make a left turn from the wrong lane.

The two vehicles collided. Smith reportedly exited the vehicle to inspect the damage. The police report says that she became angry and was yelling at the driver of the van for his negligent driving. 

That’s when Smith’s son said that he heard the other driver say, “(Expletive), I’ll kill you,” before producing a firearm and pulling the trigger. Sgt. Smith reportedly fell to the ground as the driver climbed back into his van and sped away from the scene.


Reports say that the teenage boy drove his mother to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save her.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, but police say that detectives located security camera footage of the driver’s van and license plate, which eventually led them to Wilks. 

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Wilks was taken into custody on September 2 and now faces charges of first degree intentional homicide as well as possession of a firearm by a felon. Court documents show that Wilks was convicted of felony possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of cocaine in Feb. 2008.

He was due in court on Wednesday.

Smith’s friends and family remembered her as a hardworking mother who would do anything for her children.

“She went to work every day,” said JoAnne Luckett. “She made a life for her and her sons. I wake up every morning and it’s like, ‘Wow. Tracey is not here.’ I hate it. I hate it. I hate the way things are in this city.”


Sgt. Tracey Smith (Fox 6 Broadcast)


“She’s a smiling person,” JoAnne said.

Others said the gunman was only out for blood.

“What that guy did, he just wanted to kill somebody,” said her father, Ollie Luckett. “That’s stupid. That’s crazy. She was just a wonderful person. “Easygoing.”


Sergeant Tracey Smith reportedly served the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for decades. The WI DOC say that Smith’s contributions to the state would be felt long after her passing.


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