Some 1,500 law enforcement officers from several states were among 3,000 mourners paying final respects Friday to a Chadron High School graduate who was shot to death during a traffic stop while working as a deputy sheriff in Wisconsin.
The funeral for 29-year old St Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitlin “Kaitie” Stevens Leising was held in the gymnasium of Hudson High School, not far from her Wisconsin home.
The funeral was preceded by 3 hours of visitation and followed by the hundreds of law enforcement officers silently marching to the high school parking lot for an honor guard, gun salute, and helicopter flyover.
A law enforcement procession then accompanied the hearse with the casket to a private family gathering in Baldwin, Wisconsin.
During the visitation, a montage of photos from Leising’s life was shown on a large screen overhead. Her family, including her wife Courtney and their 3-month-old son Syler, stood to the side of the casket, hugging visitors.
During the service, Courtney Leising said she was “completely heartbroken” that their son will grow up without Kaitlin. Leising’s sister, Chadron optometrist Jordyn Stevens, remembered her as inspiring and confident with a competitive streak that went beyond golf and basketball to board games and cribbage.
Among the law enforcement officers from other states were Chadron Police Chief Rick Hickstein and a South Dakota contingent from Pennington County, where Leising had worked as a deputy for 2 years before taking the Wisconsin job in January 2022.
Leising was killed last Saturday in far western Wisconsin about 60 miles from Minneapolis when a motorist she’d pulled over for drunk driving drew a gun and shot her while they were discussing field sobriety tests.
Leising got off 3 shots at Jeremiah Johnson, but missed and died after being taken to a hospital. Johnson committed suicide a short distance away about an hour later. Leising was the 3rd officer in western Wisconsin fatal shot while on duty in a month.