Wisconsin judge's alleged killer identified; Whitmer, McConnell, Evers among 13 names on hitlist: report

Uhde is accused of 'targeted' attack on retired Judge John Roemer, remains in critical condition

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The Wisconsin Department of Justice has identified the man accused of shooting and killing a retired judge before turning the gun on himself, as reports indicate he also left a "hit list" with the names of Democratic governors Gretchen Whitmer and Tony Evers and Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. 

In a statement provided by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul Saturday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) identified the alleged assassin as 56-year-old Douglas K. Uhde, who remains hospitalized in critical condition per the most recent update. 

He is accused of entering the New Lisbon, Wisconsin, residence of 68-year-old retired Judge John Roemer, at approximately 6:30 a.m. Friday, when Juneau County Sheriff’s deputies received a call notifying law enforcement of an armed person and two shots fired inside the home. 

The caller had exited the home and contacted law enforcement from a nearby home, according to the Wisconsin DOJ. Following failed attempts to negotiate with Uhde, the Juneau County Special Tactics and Response Team entered the residence at approximately 10:17 a.m. and located Roemer deceased. 

FORMER WISCONSIN COUNTY JUDGE KILLED IN ‘TARGETED’ ATTACK ON JUDICIAL SYSTEM: REPORTS

This March 17, 2020, photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections shows Douglas K. Uhde, who is suspected in the shooting death of retired Juneau, Wis., County Judge John Roemer. 

This March 17, 2020, photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections shows Douglas K. Uhde, who is suspected in the shooting death of retired Juneau, Wis., County Judge John Roemer.  ((Wisconsin Department of Corrections via AP))

Uhde was located in the basement with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the DCI.  Law enforcement began life-saving measures, and Uhde was transported to a medical facility and remains in critical condition, the DCI said Saturday. A firearm was recovered at the scene.

Kaul on Friday said the shooting appeared to be a "targeted act" and that the alleged gunman had selected people who were "part of the judicial system."

The DCI did not address multiple reports claiming that Uhde had a list that included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the governor's office in Lansing, Mich. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the governor's office in Lansing, Mich.  ((AP Photo/David Eggert, File))

The Associated Press reported, citing a law enforcement official, that investigators found a list in the suspected gunman’s vehicle that contained the names of Roemer and several other prominent elected leaders, including Whitmer, McConnell and Evers. 

Roemer was found zip-tied to a chair in his home and had been fatally shot, the official said. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. 

WKOW reported that it obtained a copy of the list that contained a total of 13 names. Another person on the list who identified himself publicly was Dan Marcon, who owns a gun shop in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin, served on the Department of Correction for 14 years and is running for Chippewa County Sheriff. 

WISCONSIN MAN DEAD, SUSPECT INJURED IN ATTACK RELATED TO JUDICIAL SYSTEM: AUTHORITIES

Though surprised to be on the hit list, Marcon said it was not the first time he received a death threat. 

"'We found a list with your name on it,' and I'm like, okay, that doesn't sound good," he said, describing when authorities first contacted him this weekend. "I had a death threat last year from a gentleman in Milwaukee on a stance that I stood with Ron Johnson on, and it was a legit one. The Milwaukee Sheriff's Department went down and knocked on his door and talked to him and said, ‘good call on that one.’"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters following a closed-door policy lunch at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters following a closed-door policy lunch at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.  ((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File))

Uhde has an extensive criminal and prison record dating back at least two decades, including a case when he was sentenced by Roemer to six years in prison on weapons charges. He was released from his last prison stint in April 2020.

Zach Pohl, Whitmer's deputy chief of staff, said her office was notified that her name appeared "on the Wisconsin gunman's list."

"Governor Whitmer has demonstrated repeatedly that she is tough, and she will not be bullied or intimidated from doing her job and working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Michigan," Pohl said.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers during the governor's State of the State speech at the state Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Madison, Wis. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers during the governor's State of the State speech at the state Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Madison, Wis.  ( (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File))

A trial held earlier this year in which four men accused in an alleged kidnapping plot of Whitmer resulted in the acquittal of two of the men. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict for the other two.

Roemer was a "very loving, very encouraging man with a wonderful sense of humor who will be dearly missed" by the community, said Chip Wilke, pastor at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mauston, where Roemer was president of the congregation and evangelism chairman. 

"He was in my office several mornings a week," Wilke said, adding that after he was notified of Roemer’s death Friday the pastor’s thought was, "I’m glad we have Jesus, and we know where he’s at."

Roemer retired from the bench in 2017. He was first elected in 2004 and was reelected in 2010 and 2016. He previously had served as an assistant district attorney for Juneau County and an assistant state public defender. He also worked in private practice and served as a lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Army Reserves. Investigators said there is no immediate danger to the public.

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Anyone with information about Uhde should contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice at (608) 266- 1221. The DCI is leading the investigation and is assisted by the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services, and numerous law enforcement agencies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.