By Joe Bachman
Local community members and law enforcement are still reeling from a Wausau-Rothschild area shooting spree that took the lives of four people on Wednesday, including a D.C. Everest officer.
While details are still coming out on the tragic incident, it has already hit home for many in Wood County, including Interim Police Randy Jahns, who is from the Wausau area.
“It hits me a couple different ways because I grew up in the Wausau area,” said Jahns. “We know something like that can happen anywhere, but seeing my hometown hit by that kind of shook me. It happens too frequently, and when it happens this close to home I think everybody realizes that it could be anyone of us, and it’s that much harder.”
Many Wisconsin Rapids police officers have worked and trained with Wausau-area law enforcement. This includes the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, who provided mutual aide requests and officer assistance for this case.
“The staff at the Wood County Sheriff’s Department has been deeply affected by the tragic shooting in Marathon County,” said Sheriff Thomas Reichert. “It is safe to say that almost every conversation that has taken place at the Department has included that subject. Many officers in our Department have relationships with the other departments involved so this has certainly hit very close to home. It truly serves as a reminder how fragile life is. The condolences of our entire Department go to the victim’s family in this tragic event.”
According to Jahns, it’s a heavy and heartfelt subject that is being discussed openly by by officers in the area.
“It’s something we try to discuss openly, and we also have our police chaplains who have stopped here the past couple days,” said Jahns. They’ve been going around and talking to everyone to see how everyone is dealing with it. Everybody realizes that it could be us in this situation, and it’s unfortunate.”