A homicide investigation is under way in the death of Wauwatosa police officer Jennifer Lynn Sebena, 30, whose body was found early Christmas Eve morning in the Village area of the city.
Sebena and her husband, Benjamin G. Sebena, lived in Menonomee Falls, and various unmarked police vehicles and what appeared to be police officials were seen visiting their home on Ranch Road on Monday.
A neighbor told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the Sebenas were a quiet couple who moved in to the neighborhood about four years ago. They didn't have children but had a small bulldog.
"They kept to themselves," said Dick McCarthy, who occasionally saw Benjamin Sebena working in his yard, told the newspaper. "All I know is he was an ex-Marine, on disability."
McCarthy told the Journal Sentinel he saw police officers coming and going from the Sebena home Monday, but did not see Benjamin Sebena.
The Menonomee Falls Police Department said it was not involved in the investigation into her death.
Wauwatosa Police Lt. Gerald Witkowski said the on-duty officer was struck by multiple gunshots. Dispatchers had tried to reach her between 3 and 5 a.m. on Monday, without success, and officers searched for her. A fellow officer found her dead about 5 a.m.
Witkowski would not say whether Sebena was shot in her squad car. He also would not speculate as to what led to the shooting. He did say that she was on patrol alone and that she did not call for backup. She joined the department in January 2011 and has been on partol since July.
"Our hearts are really heavy," he said as his voice slightly cracked.
"Great person and a great officer," he added a moment later during a noon press conference on Monday.
The area near the shooting remained closed off as of noon Monday, and the shooter or shooters remain at large. Witkowski said there are no suspects as of noon. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Tosa Police tip line at (414) 771-8672.
According to the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial web site, Sebena is the first Wauwatosa officer to be killed in the line of duty.
"There's a lot of heavy hearts. It's not a believeable thing," Witkowski said.
The incident happened at the corner of Harmoneee and Underwood near the Wauwatosa Fire Station.
Witkoski said the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation is heading the investigation and that the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office was on the scene.
Officers from Brookfield, West Allis, Elm Grove, Cudahy, Oak Creek and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department also assisted.
Asked why there was such a massive response, Witkowski said: "Because we've lost an officer."
— Sarah Millard contributed to this report.