Former Wisconsin judge killed: John Roemer fatally shot; Suspect, identified as Douglas K. Uhde, had list with WI Governor Tony Evers

NEW LISBON, Wis. – A gunman suspected of fatally shooting a retired district judge in a Wisconsin home had a list that included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers , Whitmer’s office and a law enforcement agency source said Saturday.

Douglas K. Uhde, 56, who has not been charged, is suspected of killing retired Juneau County Judge John Roemer at Roemer’s New Lisbon home on Friday, the Wisconsin Justice Department said in a news release Saturday.

Uhde was found in the basement of the house with a self-inflicted gunshot wound after police tried to negotiate with him. Uhde is hospitalized in critical condition, DOJ officials said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Friday the shooting was a “deliberate act” and that the shooter singled out people who were “part of the justice system.”

But investigators believe the gunman may have also planned to target other government officials and found a list in his vehicle that included the names of several other prominent elected leaders, a law enforcement official said. Other targets on the list that Roemer mentioned included Evers, McConnell and Whitmer, the official said.

Roemer was found tied to a chair in his home and fatally shot, the officer said. The officer was unable to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

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Uhde has an extensive criminal and prison record dating back at least two decades, including a case in which he was sentenced to six years in prison by Römer on suspicion of a weapon. In April 2020, he was released from his last sentence.

Zach Pohl, Whitmer’s deputy chief of staff, said her office was notified that her name was “on the Wisconsin gunman’s list.”

“Governor Whitmer has shown repeatedly that she’s tough, and she doesn’t allow herself to be bullied or intimidated when she’s doing her job and working across the aisle getting things done for the people of Michigan,” Pohl said.

Whitmer became the subject of protests and criticism after she accused former President Donald Trump of stoking anger over COVID-19 restrictions and refusing to condemn far-right extremists.

A trial held earlier this year in which four men accused of an alleged plot to kidnap the Michigan Democrat resulted in the acquittal of two of the men. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the other two.

Roemer, 68, was a “very loving, very encouraging man with a wonderful sense of humor that the congregation will greatly miss,” said Chip Wilke, pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mauston, where Roemer was president of the congregation – and evangelism chairman. “He was in my office several mornings a week.”

Wilke said after being notified of Roemer’s death Friday, the pastor thought, “I’m glad we have Jesus and we know where he is.”

Roemer retired from the bench in 2017. He was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016. He previously served as an assistant district attorney for Juneau County and an assistant public defender. He also worked in private practice and served as a lieutenant colonel for the US Army Reserve.

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Investigators said there was no immediate danger to the public.

“The information gathered suggests that it was a targeted act and that the targeting was based on some form of court proceeding or legal process,” Kaul said.

The Juneau County Sheriff’s Office received a call that two shots were fired at a home in New Lisbon around 6:30 a.m. Friday, according to the CID. The caller had fled the home and made the call from another nearby home.

Donna Voss, a neighbor, told The Associated Press she heard police over a loudspeaker urging the man to surrender and leave the house.

For Voss, the shooting came as a shock in a normally quiet neighborhood where homes sit next to farmland and wooded areas about 80 miles northwest of Madison.

“It’s incredible and really crazy,” she said.

New Lisbon, with a population of approximately 2,500, is located in Juneau County in central Wisconsin.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are worried about someone you know, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the crisis text line to 741741 using TALK.

For more information visit Suicide

Kolpack reported from Fargo, North Dakota. Balsamo reported from Washington, DC

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Former Wisconsin judge killed: John Roemer fatally shot; Suspect, identified as Douglas K. Uhde, had list with WI Governor Tony Evers

Tom Vazquez

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