‘Brought tears to my eyes:’ Community honors Officer Michalski during procession to funeral home

MILWAUKEE -- For miles and miles, folks stretched along the route and showed their love and appreciation for the slain officer as his body was brought from the  Medical Examiner's Office Friday morning, July 27 to Heritage Funeral Home in Oak Creek. He was honored as this death has struck a chord with law enforcement and the community.

A stream of flashing lights proceeded the hearse carrying the body of officer Michael Michalski.

His brothers and sisters in blue left the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office and drove through flag lined streets with crowds of mourners stretched along the way.

Many stopped what they were doing and paid tribute during the procession to Oak Creek.

"Ran to my car and jumped in to stand here and show respect," Julie Drajkowski said. "I think we really need to come out and show our support."

Folks of all ages were touched and wanted to honor officer Michalski and law enforcement.

"It's makes me feel great that everybody shows care," said a 12-year-old Dylan Drajkowski.

As the motorcade made its way to heritage funeral home -- the roars of the engines were met with silence from community members.

"It brought tears to my eyes," Drajkowski said. "It's awesome to see people could make it out here to show their respect."

Dozens of community members who grieve shared embraces knowing the sacrifices the 17-year veteran made.

"The cops are out there protecting people," John Malek, a retired police officer said.

Procession for fallen officer Michael Michalski

The veteran MPD officer was fatally shot Wednesday, July 25, while taking part in a check on a wanted suspect near 28th and Wright.

Michalski was at a home in the area of 28th and Wright Wednesday evening as part of a Special Investigations unit check on a suspect wanted on drug and gun violations. Chief Morales said the suspect, identified as Jonathan Copeland Jr., was wanted for violation of parole, possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and harassment intimidation offenses.

Members of MPD's Special Investigations division observed Copeland Jr. run into a home in the area.

As officers ran into that home, Chief Morales said Copeland Jr. fired multiple times at the officers, who returned fire.

Chief Morales said after Copeland Jr. fired at officers and ran out of ammunition, he gave up.

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While Copeland Jr. was not struck, Officer Michalski was. He was transported to Froedtert Hospital with serious injuries, and died, despite life-saving efforts.

Chief Morales said Officer Michalski leaves behind a wife, Susan, and three sons -- John, Josh and Andrew.

As preparations are made for his final goodbye -- prayers for strength, safety and peace for his family and our community continue.

"My deepest sympathy to the family, my deepest sympathy," Adela Sanchez said.

Funeral arrangements are set for next Wednesday. August 1 but prior to that there will be another gathering and memorial held Monday, July 30. The vigil will be at 6 p.m. at 28th and Wright.

The Milwaukee Police Department has created a GoFundMe page for Officer Michalski's family.