Video: Thousands attend funeral for Wis. officers fatally shot during traffic stop

Emily Breidenbach, 32, and Hunter Scheel, 23, were killed last week in a shootout with a suspect

By Audrey Korte
La Crosse Tribune

CAMERON, Wis. — About 2,000 people attended the visitation and funeral of slain police officers Emily Breidenbach and Hunter Scheel as they were laid to rest Saturday.

Hundreds more lined the streets for the procession as the small northwestern Wisconsin town swelled with law enforcement and others who traveled to pay their respects.

Breidenbach, a 32-year-old Chetek police officer, and Scheel, a 23-year-old Cameron police officer, were killed a week ago in a shootout with 50-year-old Glen Douglas Perry of New Auburn during a traffic stop. Perry later died at a hospital.

At the funeral for the officers, Chetek Mayor Jeff Martin said Breidenbach wore a badge, carried a gun and helped maintain public safety.

"But like all good officers, she did so much more than enforcing the law," he said. "She built bridges into our community with kids and adults alike in our schools, on our streets downtown."

Maranatha Evangelical Free Church Senior Pastor Cody Kargus said he was close to both officers. He said both were good Christians and will be remembered for making the ultimate sacrifice: laying down their lives in the line of duty.

"Last Saturday was the worst day of my life," Kargus said during the funerals. "I lost my two friends. And today is hard. I want to thank you for being a supportive family and supportive of our agencies here in Chetek and Cameron.

"We are going through a horrible time. So your presence and friendship is very important. It is overwhelming."

The village of Cameron and city of Chetek are small communities located 8 miles from each other. Each has about 2,000 residents.

Both communities' police departments have just a handful of officers.

Cameron Police Chief Adam Steffen talked about hiring Breidenbach and the kind of woman she was.

"All she wanted to do was help people," Steffen said. "She was always running around like her hair was on fire, trying to do the right thing. She was hands on. Everything she did she put her all into.

"Hunter and Emily performed their job with dignity, respect and professionalism."

Mike Breidenbach, Emily's brother said, "There is darkness and there always will be. When that darkness comes to call I can thank God that there are such truly special men and women like Emily and Hunter."

Audrey Scheel had three words to describe her brother.

"Confident, strong and fearless, Audrey Scheel said. "When I think about Hunter, picture him in my mind, I see his contagious smile. The smile that Hunter gave to anyone he met along the way."

Scheel's family members described him as giving, from touring in Afghanistan to helping his grandpa collect sap and make maple syrup. He was also an avid hunter, friends said.

Kargus encouraged people who knew the two officers to reach out to each other for support.

"It is good to let someone know that you're hurting," he said. "You're not meant to do this alone, and you're not weak for asking for help."

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Justice said Breidenbach and Scheel pulled Perry over to check on his welfare after their departments received "notification of concerning behavior" and because he had an outstanding warrant.

Court records show a Barron County judge issued a bench warrant for Perry on March 30 after he failed to appear during a court hearing requested by the county's child support agency as part of a divorce case. Perry was also charged twice with offenses related to domestic violence in 2020.

Breidenbach joined the Chetek police force in 2019 and handled the department's therapy dog, Officer Grizz. Before working for her hometown police department, she worked for nine months with the Stoughton Police Department in Dane County.

Scheel joined the Cameron Police Department in 2022 after graduating from the law enforcement academy in December. He also served six years as a member of the Army National Guard.

The shooting is being investigated by the DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation. It garnered national attention and an outpouring of condolences via social media from other law enforcement agencies and elected officials like Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Gov. Tony Evers.

Evers ordered all flags be lowered to half staff on Wednesday in honor of Scheel and Breidenbach.

The officers' morning visitation was followed by the funeral service. Both ceremonies were held at Cameron High School with police honors conducted outside the school at its conclusion.

Memorial funds for the fallen officers have been set up at banks in the region. Donations to the Hunter Scheel Memorial Fund can be sent to PO Box 457, 101 W. Main St. Cameron, WI 54822. Donations to the Emily Breidenbach Memorial Fund can be sent to Sterling Bank, 427 Second St., PO Box 106, Chetek, WI 54728.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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