“As a society … we have an [ ] obligation to recognize when officers act with real courage to protect our lives and community. On December 19, 2022, several officers, with full knowledge of an active shooter, approached a private residence while under fire and actually breached the entrance, in direct and immediate peril, to try to preserve the lives of any wounded hostages. I recognize their courtage and thank them for their service.” – Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley
Today, the Kenosha District Attorney’s Office announced that the multi-month investigation of the officer-involved shooting from late last year has completed. The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations handled the investigation due to state statute.
On December 19, 2022, Kenosha Police Officers were dispatched to the 1300 block of 56th St, just blocks from the Kenosha County Courthouse, for a report of an active shooter. Investigators would learn that a group of people were watching movies, when a deranged transient named Matthew Lopez began to point a gun at people’s heads. A woman who was present yelled for her son and other people to leave, which they did. Lopez didn’t like this and shot at the women twice, missing her. A man, who lived in a small residence behind the home, approached the home to inquire what the commotion was and he was shot by Lopez in the arm and leg. Lopez and another man remained in the home. At least two Kenosha Police patrol officers and two patrol Sergeants arrived on scene and immediately were shot at by Lopez. One officer said out loud to another, “We were right there. He was firing at us out the window. I don’t know how any of us were not shot.” This officer, said Graveley, was in so much peril, that two officers had to extract her with a ballistic shield while she took cover behind a vehicle. The two patrol Sergeants fired back at Lopez. “Kenosha Police Officers then made the decision to place their own lives in even more direct peril by forming a contact team, which then kicked down the door of the residence, hoping to preserve the lives of wounded hostages,” said Graveley.
Just before the contact team engaged, Lopez called 9-1-1 and told police to not approach, but said that he had wounded hostages, and one “does not look good.” When police entered the home, they found one dead male who was later identified as Lopez and another seriously injured man, who later died. Lopez took his own life.
The DOJ will be releasing its investigation on Monday for the public to review. KCE isn’t naming any involved officers. According to Kenosha Police Lt. Joe Nosalik, right after the incident, police administration “locked” all of the body-cam videos and they were turned over to the State. This means that some of the Officers who risked their lives last year haven’t had time to review these videos and some might be have emotional reactions to reliving the incident.