MILWAUKEE -- Members of the public will have the opportunity to say goodbye to Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner on Wednesday, Feb. 13, during the second of two memorial services for the fallen officer and Marine Corps veteran. The officer died after he was shot while serving a search warrant on Wednesday morning, Feb. 6 near 12th and Manitoba.
Officer Rittner's public visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Oak Creek Assembly of God Church, located at 7311 S. 13th Street in Oak Creek. A service will follow the visitation, and police honors will be conducted outside following the ceremony.
A procession will begin after the police honors from Oak Creek Assembly of God Church to the Krause Funeral Home, located at 21600 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield.
There will be a private visitation for Officer Rittner on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. for Milwaukee Police Department members, Milwaukee Fire Department members, retired sworn MPD members and their significant others and military personnel. The private visitation will also be held at Oak Creek Assembly of God Church.
Marquette University Police Officer Brian Larson responded to 12th and Manitoba on that Wednesday morning for mutual aid, realizing moments later that the person who was shot was his close friend.
"It was tough to take in. To find out it was someone who you've known for so long, it stings a little more," said Officer Larson.
Officer Larson and Officer Rittner served in the same Marine Corps unit and deployed to Iraq together, building a bond like no other.
"We became good friends and spent a lot of our off time outside of the Marines together as well, from riding motorcycles to hanging out as buddies," said Officer Larson.
Loved ones characterized Officer Rittner as someone who had an infectious laugh and was loved by many. Officer Larson said Officer Rittner was always there to lift spirits.
"If anyone was having a bad day, somehow he would always end up in the middle. Before you know it, everyone seemed to have a better day when Matt was around," said Officer Larson.
On Tuesday, his law enforcement and military comrades will come together to grieve.
"I think it helps because we are all kind of feeling the same type of pain," said Officer Larson. "It's kind of one of those jobs where you have to go back to work and try to focus on what you are doing and remember the good times and focus on those and kind of lean on each other -- fellow officers and fellow Marines -- and take care of each other and make sure you are doing well," said Officer Larson.
Officer Rittner was 35 years old, and a 17-year veteran of MPD. He left behind a wife and young son. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Rittner's family.