Kiel High School will host funeral services on Sunday for a Wisconsin state trooper who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice identified the trooper as 21-year-old Trevor Casper of Kiel.
The young Wisconsin State Patrol trooper was on his first solo patrol since receiving his badge when he was killed in a shootout with a bank robbery suspect in Fond du Lac.
The suspect, identified by the DOJ as Steven Timothy Snyder of Michigan, was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.
Funeral services for Trevor will be at Kiel High School, 210 Raider Heights, at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 29. The family will meet guests starting at noon. A private burial is planned in Kiel on Monday, according to Meiselwitz-Vollstedt Funeral Home.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ordered flags lowered to half staff through Tuesday, March 31, in Casper’s honor.
Trooper Casper was attempting to make contact with Snyder because he matched the description of a suspect wanted in a Village of Wausaukee bank robbery.
The robbery happened at the State Bank of Florence in the 200 block of Main Street in Wausaukee at about 2:00 p.m., according to the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office. The DOJ says Snyder was caught on surveillance robbing the bank. The sheriff’s office says Snyder fired one shot during the robbery but nobody was injured.
Police say Snyder stole a bank employee’s vehicle and left the scene.
A short time later, police were called to another scene near the intersection of Highway 180 and Jermac Road. The call reported a man lying on the side of the road. When police arrived, they found Thomas Christ, 59, dead beside a running vehicle.
Police believe Snyder stole another vehicle, encountered Christ and shot him.
Officers put out the stolen vehicle’s information to other law enforcement agencies.
At about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Trooper Casper spotted a vehicle matching that description near Fond du Lac. Trooper Casper followed the vehicle headed southbound on Highway 41 until it exited the highway at Johnson Street. That’s when Snyder and the trooper exchanged gunfire, according to the Fond du Lac Police chief. Both Trooper Casper and Snyder were killed.
Nearby State Patrol officers rushed to scene to provide backup.
“I did get on scene and shortly there after the gunfire exchange between himself and the suspect,” said Captain Tony Burrell of the Wisconsin State Patrol. “I won’t say that I was witness, I did see Trooper Casper fall to the ground.”
Other troopers rendered aid to Trooper Casper and transported him to a responding ambulance.
Even though it was Trooper Casper’s first day alone, his superiors say he did everything right in the exchange.
“From the information that we have we can tell you that it was absolutely textbook, from the time he observed the vehicle with his communication with our dispatch center the dispatch center’s communication back to him as far as distance on the vehicle and everything that we would want when we’re basically following a suspect that could potentially be a dangerous traffic stop, it was textbook,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brian Rahn of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
Autopsies on Trooper Casper and suspect Snyder are expected to be completed Wednesday. The DOJ says the information will likely help them find out what happened during the shootout.
Fond du Lac police reported another bank robbery at about 4:30 p.m. in the 200 block of North Peters Avenue. The suspect was able to get away with an unknown amount of money in that robbery. Nobody was injured. The DOJ has not confirmed any connection between Snyder and that robbery.
The FBI has confirmed that it is investigating connections between Snyder and other bank robberies in Wisconsin and other states.
The FBI says Snyder is from Michigan, but court documents show he spent time in Wisconsin years ago. In 1996 court records reveal Snyder was arrested for disorderly conduct after a fight broke out at a home in Fond du Lac. The records say Snyder was part of a group of white supremacists fighting with a group of minorities.
Snyder pleaded no contest and served 50 days in jail for that offense.
A funeral for Thomas Christ is planned next Tuesday at the Presbyterian Church in Wausaukee with visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. and funeral services at 12 p.m., Roubal Funeral Home said.
He received his badge on December 19, 2014, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website.
Throughout Kiel flags were lowered to half staff Wednesday in mourning of Casper.
School administrators say Casper was a leader in all other walks of his life. He was a role model on the soccer and wrestling teams at school and voted on the prom court. His senior class voted Casper as someone they’re most likely to go to for advice.
“He was a good guy, everybody liked him. He was just a really personable, warm disposition,” says School District Administrator Louise Blankenehim.
She says it’s a sad day at the high school, where one if his two sisters still goes to school.
Condolences, messages of grief and remembrances have been coming in for Trooper Casper from sources throughout the law enforcement community.
“Yesterday marked the End of Watch for Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper. Our hearts go out to his fellow officers, his friends, and especially his family. Though Trooper Casper wore the badge, his service to this state was not a solitary endeavor. May we never forget his sacrifice and that of his loved ones who shared and supported his devotion to our common security. — Wisconsin Professional Police Association”
“At the Wisconsin Department of Transportation we are grieving the loss of Trooper Trevor Casper. Trooper Casper was among the group of brave men and women in the Division of State Patrol who put themselves in dangerous situations each day as they work to keep the people of Wisconsin safe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” — WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb