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Milwaukee man accused in shooting death of Racine Officer Hetland pleads not guilty

Dalquavis Ward

MILWAUKEE — Dalquavis Ward, 26, the Milwaukee man accused of shooting and killing Racine Police Officer John Hetland pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges in court on Wednesday, Aug. 7. A jury trial was scheduled for February 2020.

The shooting happened at Teezers Bar near 20th and Lathrop Avenue on June 17. Prosecutors said Ward was attempting to rob the bar.

He was charged with the following on June 28:

  • First-degree intentional homicide — use of a dangerous weapon
  • Armed robbery
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

Officer John Hetland

According to prosecutors, Ward, wearing dark clothing and a mask, entered the bar with a “semi-automatic handgun displayed.” The bartender told police Ward said to “give him all the (expletive) money out of the register.” Officer Hetland then climbed over the bar and got into a physical altercation with Ward that apparently lasted about “14 seconds.” Officials said at that point, Ward “pushed Hetland back about two to three feet,” firing “the handgun at Hetland’s chest.”

Remembering Officer Hetland at Teezers

Fatal shooting at Teezers bar in Racine

Ward has a lengthy criminal past. In 2008, when he was 15 years old, Ward was convicted of felony armed robbery. Federal court records showed Ward reached a plea agreement with prosecutors for a separate armed robbery in Racine in December 2014. In 2015, he was charged with — and later convicted of — disorderly conduct, strangulation, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Ward was released from federal prison just four days prior to the June 17 shooting incident.

DNA evidence collected at Teezers Bar and from Hetland’s shirt was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. On June 27 — the day after Officer Hetland was laid to rest — authorities matched that evidence to Ward, an offender who was already on file. Ward was arrested in Milwaukee later that day.

A status conference was scheduled for Oct. 18.

Dalquavis Ward

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