CRIME

Wisconsin shootings: Officer killed was 15-year veteran 'hero'

March 22, 2017: Numerous law enforcement vehicles and SWAT teams respond to a shooting at an apartment complex in Weston, Wis.

March 22, 2017: Numerous law enforcement vehicles and SWAT teams respond to a shooting at an apartment complex in Weston, Wis.  (AP/The Post-Crescent)

The police officer gunned down in a series of shootings in Wisconsin on Wednesday has been identified and is being hailed by state officials as a hero for protecting his community.

Jason Weiland, a 15-year veteran of the Everest Metro Police Dept., was shot as he approached an apartment complex in Weston, a small town about 90 miles west of Green Bay, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the investigation.

Bank workers Dianne M. Look, 67, and Karen L. Barclay, 62, died after being shot at Marathon Savings Bank. Sara H. Quirt Sann, 43, an attorney at a nearby law firm, also died, the Justice Dept. announced.

DETROIT MAN: 'I DIDN'T MURDER NOBODY' IN FIRE THAT KILLED 5

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a statement Thursday applauding the courage of officers who responded to the shootings and said the fallen officer will be forever remembered as a hero.

A woman who lives in the complex told The AP she looked out her apartment window about 1:15 p.m. to see a squad car approach, and a few seconds later heard a gunshot and saw the officer fall. Kelly Hanson, 21, said she saw other officers put the wounded policeman in an armored SWAT vehicle and take him away.

PENNSYLVANIA MAN WANTED IN KILLING OF 4-YEAR-OLD IS CAUGHT

Authorities arrested a suspect in the attacks but haven't provided details. They said the violence in a cluster of towns near Wausau began with a domestic situation at the bank before moving to a nearby law firm and then to the apartment complex.

Calls to the Everest department were referred to the state Department of Justice, where a spokesman did not immediately reply to texts or phone messages.

The Everest Police website listed Weiland as a field training officer and member of a task force for internet crimes against children. His LinkedIn page said he had also worked as a narcotics detective for the Marathon County Sheriff's Department, and as a police officer and corrections officer for Marathon City and Marathon County.

A bouquet of flowers was left on a sidewalk outside the law firm Thursday, while yellow crime-scene tape surrounded the two-story building. A police officer was sitting in a parked SUV nearby, The Associated Press reported.

Pat Palececk, who co-owns an electrical business near the law firm, says he's disturbed that an attack like this could happen in his town.

In a statement Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also extended his sympathies to the Everest Metropolitan Police Department, and to the communities where the Wednesday shootings happened, Rothschild, Schofield and Weston.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.