OAK CREEK -- A private procession led by the Milwaukee Police Department escorted the body of fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner to the Oak Creek Assembly of God church for a private memorial service on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 12.
It served as another powerful display of unity from first responders after the third line-of-duty death for MPD in eight months. Officer Rittner died after he was shot Wednesday morning, Feb. 6 while executing a search warrant near 12th and Manitoba.
In a snowstorm Tuesday, members of the Milwaukee Fire Department and Oak Creek Fire Department made sure a large American flag was waving in the wind, just in time for the arrival of their fallen brother.
Meanwhile, a hearse carrying Officer Rittner, who also served our country in the Marines, departed Krause Funeral Home in Brookfield, headed to the private memorial.
"Just wanted to show appreciation for what they do for us," said Eric Wolf, parts associate at Sportland 2.
At the business just a few doors down from the Oak Creek church, they put up a message that read: "God bless Officer Rittner. RIP."
"I mean, we heard about the tragic events of the shooting and everything and we just thought to show respect for the tragedy that happened, it just seemed like a nice thing to do and a gesture for the community and everybody to see," said Garrett Gaber, parts manager at Sportland 2 Motorsports.
Employees said they did something similar when Officer Michael Michalski died in the line of duty in July.
"It was important for us to be there," said Marquette University Police Captain Jeffrey Kranz. "It's the way this family is. The police family, we're there for each other, to pick each other up when we're down. That's how you get through these things. It's the least we can do to help them through it."
The private service was for sworn and retired MPD members, MFD members and military members and their significant others.
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.
Officer Rittner left behind a wife and young son. A GoFundMe page was set up for Rittner’s family.