Mitch McConnell and Gretchen Whitmer named on ‘hit list’ of gunman suspected of killing judge at his home

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a speech in Lansing, Mich. on Oct. 8, 2020.  ((Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File))
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a speech in Lansing, Mich. on Oct. 8, 2020. ((Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File))

A man suspected of shooting dead a retired judge reportedly had a “hit list” of leading Democrat and Republican figures including US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Juneau County Circuit Court Judge John Roemer, 68, was found dead at his New Lisbon, Wisconsin, home on Friday evening, police said. Officers discovered the retired judge zip-tied to a chair with gunshot wounds.

The suspect, a 56-year-old man whose name has not been disclosed, is also in hospital in critical condition with reported self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

The Independent has contact lead investigators, the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, for comment.

“This does appear to be a targeted act,” Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul said on Friday. “The individual who is the suspect appears to have had other targets as well. It appears to be related to the judicial system.”

When police searched the 56-year-old’s car, they found a list of potential targets, unnamed law enforcement sources have told local outlet WISN.

Officials have disclosed that the suspected shooter had other targets in mind, but have not said whom, only disclosing that those on the list have been briefed and are not in danger.

Ms Whitmer was the previous target of a kidnapping plot in 2020.

“While the news reports are deeply troubling, we will not comment further on an ongoing criminal investigation,” a Whitmer spokesperson told ABC News in a statement.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation is leading an investigation into the attack, assisted by the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, Mauston Police Department, Elroy Police Department, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, Wisconsin State Patrol, and the FBI.

Police are investigating the incident as a homicide an a potential instance of domestic terrorism.

911 dispatch audio indicates that Roemer’s son may have been inside the home when the shooting occured.

“The son is saying that he woke up, saw a male subject with a firearm—a pistol, said that the subject did not see him and we was able to exit the house through a window,” a dispatcher can be heard saying.

Police arrived after the scene after a 911 caller said they had heard two shots go off inside the house.

A SWAT team attempted to negotiate with the suspected shooter, before deciding to enter the home, according to attorney general Kaul.

Inside, they found the deceased judge and wounded man.

The shooting follows a spate of shocking gun violence across the US in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Judges are not immune to this gun violence epidemic.

US District Judge Esther Salas has been pushing for a federal bill to limit the amount of personal information available about public officials, after her son was murdered in a similar attack at their family home in New Jersey in 2020.

The state passed such a bill, known as as Daniel’s Law, that same year.

The number of threats against judges has increased in recent years, according to US Marshals.