FOND DU LAC - Full of emotion and holding back tears, Fond du Lac Police Chief Tony Barthuly delivered the news that a member of his force had died.
"Today is a very sad day," said Barthuly. "This is a nightmare to me. I wish someone would poke me and say, OK Tony you can wake up."
Barthuly says despite the protection of a bulletproof vest, 28-year-old Craig Birkholz was killed after being shot in the upper chest.
"Craig was an outstanding officer, and a good person. And we're going to miss him," said Barthuly.
"All officers were in harm's way at one time or another," said Deputy Chief Kevin Lemke.
While injuries to two other officers have left members of the force shaken, it's the death of Birkholz they say will stay with them forever.
"It tears me apart, and the rest of the team to have to have this conversation," said Barthuly.
Birkholz leaves behind a wife. For nearly two years, Birkholz worked with the Fond du Lac police force. Before that, he served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
"He got done serving his country and he wanted to serve this community," said Barthuly.
And on Sunday March 20, officer Birkholz served this community by giving the ultimate sacrifice: his life.
Barthuly says this is the first officer Fond du Lac police has lost in the line of duty in about 50 years. Funeral arrangements for Birkholz have not been finalized yet.
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