“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
― Fred Rogers
On May 9, 2019, this community saw helpers. Martice Fuller is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Kaylie Juga and attempting to murder her mother, Stephanie Juga. There are many heroes that emerged in this tremendous tragedy, but we are focusing on four today. The first hero in this story, Stephanie Juga, who called 9-1-1 after almost being killed herself. She kept her cool and correctly gave dispatchers her address and the details of what happened. She testified today at Fuller’s trial that she was attempting to give her daughter CPR even with several bullet holes in her, bleeding heavily from her wrist and chest. “It hurt very badly, but I wanted to help Kaylie.” she said. She would have been safer staying in the bathroom where she initially barricaded herself, but she emerged to help her little girl. She didn’t see the assailant leave the home. He could have still been in the house.
The Juga home is in the jurisdiction of the Kenosha Police Department. This didn’t stop three deputies with the Sheriff’s department from responding within 3 minutes. Deputy Eckert testified yesterday that “it’s about saving lives, at that point it’s not about jurisdiction.” Eckert had already completed his shift when he heard the emergency radio calling for officers to respond to an active shooter. He flipped on his lights and sirens without a second thought and got there quickly, as did two of his partners, Lt. Beranis and Deputy Lanctot. Lanctot had not yet started his shift. Together they all have over 50 years of service with the Sheriff’s department. They went immediately into the home with seemingly no regard for their own safety. Deputy Eckert heard the plea of a desperate mother and he went upstairs without hesitation. He and Deputy Wagner carried Kaylie Juga out of the house so that paramedics could work on her. He placed a chest seal on one of her wounds and continued CPR. Another Deputy brought Stephanie in his squad car to a nearby ambulance. In a scene like this, rescue personnel can’t immediately go inside, as they aren’t equipped or trained to protect themselves against armed gunmen. They “stage” until the scene is clear. The scene was not clear, there was a locked bedroom where police thought the crazed gunman was hiding. The swat team later used an explosive device to open the locked door and eventually it was determined that Fuller was no longer in the home.
These four individuals need our prayers and gratitude. They will likely not soon forget these senseless crimes. By all accounts, Kaylie was well-loved by her friends, family and everyone who knew her. A beautiful young woman who had a lifetime of love to give. While her wounds were too severe for her life to be saved, four brave souls risked theirs to become helpers, as Mr. Rogers remembers. When we look back at this story, let’s remember the sweet girl named Kaylie Juga. Let’s remember her loving mother and family. Let’s remember these law-enforcement officers who are American Heroes.