National Briefs

Suspect charged in fatal shooting of Milwaukee officer

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A man who was charged Sunday with killing a Milwaukee officer during a drug raid on his home told investigators that he didn’t realize it was police trying to break down his door, authorities said.

Jordan P. Fricke, 26, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and other crimes in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Officer Matthew Rittner, who was part of a tactical unit trying to serve a warrant to search the home for illegal drugs and weapons on Wednesday morning.

According to the criminal complaint, police announced their presence several times and said they had a search warrant, and an officer yelled “police” right before Fricke fired four rounds through a hole in the door that Rittner had made with a battering ram. Rittner died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Fricke was in bed with his girlfriend when they were awakened by loud noise and yelling. He told investigators that he never heard anyone yell “search warrant.” He said he thought he heard someone say “police” but didn’t think it was actually the police trying to break into his home, the complaint states.

Fricke’s girlfriend said she saw him shoot at the kitchen door and that she knew police were at the door because she heard them identify themselves, according to the complaint.

A $1 million cash bond was set Sunday for Fricke, and a court commissioner found probable cause to hold Fricke for further proceedings. A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 14, and Fricke remains in jail. Fricke’s attorney, Michael L. Chernin, declined comment.

9 hurt when DUI suspect drives onto sidewalk in California

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — Witnesses and emergency responders lifted a pickup truck off people trapped when a driver plowed into a crowd on a sidewalk in Southern California early Sunday, injuring at least nine, authorities said.

Police arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs after the truck crashed into a popular area of Fullerton filled with people leaving bars and restaurants shortly before closing time.

“It was a very chaotic scene,” police Lt. Jon Radus said.

The Toyota Tacoma jumped the curb, struck people and then crashed into a tree, Radus said. Some of the victims were trapped under the truck.

“One of the girls was screaming, ‘Help, help!'” bystander Sohrab Gill said. “I saw some blood coming out of her nose.”

Injuries ranged from moderate to critical and the victims are between 18 and 49 years old, the Orange County Register reported.

Christopher Solis of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury. It wasn’t known if he has an attorney.

Denver teachers prepare to strike over pay dispute

DENVER (AP) — Denver teachers are planning to strike Monday for the first time in 25 years after failed negotiations with the school district over base pay.

The teachers union and Denver Public Schools met Saturday in an attempt to reach a new contract after more than a year of negotiations, but both sides left disappointed.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association released a statement after the meeting saying the district’s proposal lacks transparency and “pushes for failed incentives for some over meaningful base salary for all.”

“We will strike Monday for our students and for our profession, and perhaps then DPS will get the message and return to the bargaining table with a serious proposal aimed at solving the teacher turnover crisis in Denver,” said Henry Roman, president of the teachers union.

Meanwhile, schools Superintendent Susana Cordova said she was “extremely disappointed” that the union walked away from the table instead of continuing to work toward an agreement.

“We presented an updated proposal that responds to what we heard from our teachers, aligns to our values of equity and retention … and significantly increases the base pay for all of our educators,” Cordova said.

Teachers plan to picket around the city beginning Monday as the district tries to keep schools open by staffing them with administrators and substitutes. The district has canceled classes for about 5,000 preschoolers because it doesn’t have the staff to take care of them.

The two sides disagree about pay increases and bonuses for teachers in high-poverty schools and other schools that the district considers a priority.

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