A Wisconsin man believed to have shot and killed a Milwaukee police officer on Monday had been in court earlier that same day, where he received probation for a hit-and-run in what the judge in that case called a “good bargain.”
Milwaukee Police Officer Peter Jerving, 37, was killed in an apparent shootout with Terrell Thompson, Milwaukee Police said in a press release. Thompson, 19, was also killed by gunfire.
Court records indicate that Thompson was sentenced earlier that day for misdemeanor charges stemming from a 2021 hit-and-run of a vehicle. Thompson, who was driving his mother’s car at the time, had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation.
According to a transcript of that plea hearing, obtained by Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI, prosecutors had recommended a sentence of “four months in the House of Correction, imposed and stayed for 12 months of probation.”
Thompson had allegedly been involved with multiple separate hit-and-runs over the course of the prior 6 months. His guilty plea was for one of those incidents.
At Monday’s hearing, prosecutor Nate McClure noted that Thompson did not have any criminal history.
“[W]e do think that probation is a good idea here, both to ensure public safety and to deter any future criminal behavior,” McClure said.
“This is a case where I think Mr. Thompson is a very young man,” Thompson’s defense attorney Christopher Ertl said. “I think he acted like a very young man.”
Ertl said that since the hit-and-run, Thompson was working three jobs, and added that his client had an interview scheduled for the following day with Allstate insurance for a customer service position.
“I want to apologize about the whole situation, and it was just a life-learning lesson,” Thompson said at the hearing.
Circuit Court Judge T. Christopher Dee said that it was “a little mysterious” that Thompson reportedly had a black backpack at the scene of both hit-and-runs.
“[Y]ou run away, and that backpack seems to disappear,” the judge said. “I’m a little curious as to why that would be.”
Nonetheless, the judge granted the state’s request for probation.
“[Y]ou got the benefit of a good bargain, in that you are pleading to one and not two others,” Dee told Thompson. “You could have had three convictions, theoretically, so I think you got a benefit there. And I just don’t know how any of this will take; I can’t read into the future.”
Jerving and his partner were trying to apprehend Thompson at around 1:16 a.m. in connection with an apparent robbery, according to Milwaukee police.
“During the encounter with the suspect, a struggle ensued in which the suspect fired shots striking officer Peter E.C. Jerving,” the press release said. “Officer Jerving discharged his firearm striking the suspect.”
Jerving was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Thompson’s family told local CBS affiliate WDJT that they want more information on what led to the incident that resulted in the two men’s deaths. The family wants Milwaukee Police to release body camera footage from the incident and to provide details about the alleged robbery.
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