Tosa officer 'ambushed' responding to robbery

Published on: 12/14/2009

Wauwatosa — The men who held up a Chinese restaurant late Sunday may have then been trying to steal from the owners' nearby apartment when a police officer arrived and was 'ambushed' by multiple gunshots, police and people who know the restaurant owners said Monday.

The 28-year-old officer, the first in Wauwatosa to be shot in 21 years, was wearing a protective vest but nonetheless was wounded in the abdomen while still in her squad car, police said.

After surgery, the officer who has 3 1/2 years of experience was reported in stable condition.

'She was suddenly ambushed in what turned out to be a very violent attack,' Police Chief Barry Weber said Monday.

A suspect, a 28-year-old Milwaukee man, was arrested near the scene of the shooting a short time later. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered, Weber said.

Neither the officer nor the suspect will be identified until after at least one other suspect is found, he said.

Weber said it is not known whether the suspects have any ties to the owners of the Happy Wok, 2332 N. 124th St.

City documents and other records confirm that the owner, Yong Jian Dong, his wife and their young son live in an apartment at Normandy Village a couple of blocks north of the restaurant. The officer was shot at those apartments.

Dong refused to comment.

At the apartment complex late Monday, glass that police broke to enter a clubhouse near Dong's apartment remained shattered. Officers apparently looked for suspects inside the clubhouse Sunday but did not find any.

According to police:

The wounded officer was the first to respond to the report of the restaurant robbery shortly after 10:30 p.m. She was alone in her squad car.

The owners directed her to the apartment complex, where an undetermined number of shots were fired at her as she arrived.

A police photo shows seven places on the officer's car that were struck.

The officer tried to unholster her gun during the incident and called for help after she was shot. The bullet apparently entered her abdomen near the vest.

A friend of the restaurant owners said the owners' keys were taken along with cash in the robbery, but that could not be confirmed.

Lt. Dominic Leone said the last Wauwatosa officer to be shot on duty was Lt. Joseph Eibl, who is now retired.

That incident occurred in July 1988. Eibl shot a suspect in the finger during an armed robbery of a restaurant and in a subsequent struggle, the suspect used Eibl's weapon to shoot the officer in the foot.