A Milwaukee police officer was fatally shot during the early hours of Tuesday morning, while responding to a call in one of the city’s south side neighborhoods, authorities have confirmed.

The officer, whose name has not been shared publicly, was 37 years old and in his fourth year on the Milwaukee police force. Along with other officers assigned to the city’s fourth district, he was dispatched to an intersection near Lincoln Village at around 1:15 a.m. to pursue a suspect wanted in connection with a robbery that had occurred roughly two hours earlier, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said at a news conference on Tuesday morning.

When police arrived at the scene, Norman said the suspect ignored commands and fled the area on foot. The officer who was killed had caught up to the suspect and an ensuing struggle between them led the suspect to discharge his handgun and fire shots that struck the officer, the police chief said. The officer then discharged his gun, Norman said, and the suspect was hit. Their exchange ended with the death of the suspect, who was only identified as a 19-year-old individual. The police chief said that a cause of death is still being investigated. 

The responding officer sustained life-threatening injuries during the struggle, and later died at a hospital. 

“Milwaukee Police Department hearts are heavy. My heart is heavy,” said Norman, who was visibly emotional at the news conference. “One of our finest, who put on that uniform and put on that badge and went into work last night and paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our community. Milwaukee, we need your prayers. We need your support.”

“To the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, I see you. I am proud of you. The work that you do does not go unnoticed, and at this time, our community needs you,” the police chief continued. “This is a time to lean in and do the work that needs to be done in our community. The violence needs to stop. The violence needs to stop. Everyone has a role in community protection.”

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson also appeared at the news conference, saying that the responding officer “should not be dead.” Johnson echoed the police chief’s sentiment about gun violence in the city during his own remarks.

“Make sure you check up on your folks,” he said in comments addressed to Milwaukee residents. “If they are out there doing dirt, doing bad things, messing around with guns, that you hold them to account so that we don’t see this sort of activity happening in our city. Enough of this. Enough of it.”