Community leaders react to Juneau County targeted shooting

The community is still in shock two days after a retired judge was shot and killed in his home by a man who allegedly targeted those in the judicial system.
Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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NEW LISBON, Wis. (WMTV) - The community is still in shock two days after a retired judge was shot and killed in his home by a man who allegedly targeted those in the judicial system.

A Juneau County official said the community is still in shock because of the shooting of Judge John Roemer.

The entrance to Judge Roemer’s home has been blocked off by law enforcement and crime scene tape since Friday, but there’s another kind of standstill for those who knew him personally and professionally.

“The community, I think, is mainly a little bit in shock. The disbelief that something like this could happen here, but also to Judge Roemer,” Juneau County Board Chairman Tim Cottingham said.

Cottingham had worked in local law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department and also as a courtroom bailiff alongside Judge Roemer. For decades, he saw Roemer serve as an assistant state public defender, Assistant District Attorney and Circuit Court Judge.

“When he became judge it was kind of an icing on the cake. He had a long, great career. He had a great legal mind. And he was friends with all the officers. You could talk to him. It was personal. It wasn’t just professional,” Cottingham said.

An initial investigation into Friday’s targeted attack is underway, according to authorities.

The Juneau County Sheriff’s Office said the road up to Judge Roemer’s home will stay blocked off until Monday afternoon.

“The community, we’re going to dearly miss him,” Cottingham said.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler also expressed shock and sadness in a statement Sunday night, saying:

Another community member is helping to organize a candlelight vigil for Judge Roemer. The vigil is planned for Saturday at 9 p.m. by the Juneau County Justice Center.

“When I was a kid I got into a little trouble. Roemer showed me compassion, understanding and a fairness I hadn’t experienced much in my life. The fact that this happened to such a remarkable man, saddens me beyond belief. My family’s thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family,” President of Friends of Juneau County Jamie Milheiser said.

The vigil is scheduled to start at 9 p.m., but may not start until 9:30 p.m. so it is dark enough to light the candles. Candles will be handed out for those who aren’t able to bring any.

Organizers plan to walk around the block with the candles from the main road to the Justice Center.

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