John McCarthy was identified as the gunman in the random execution-style murder of a 22-year-old man who was pumping gas in Wisconsin.
The victim was identified as Anthony Griger, of Elkhorn. McCarthy was shot and killed by an off-duty sheriff’s investigator who was his next target, authorities said. The officer was shot and wounded but survived. The gunman’s name was also given as John R. McCarthy, of Hartland, Wisconsin. The motive is not clear.
In a news conference, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling described it as a “very sad situation that ended in tragedy.”
“The Sheriff’s Office is identifying the 32-year-old suspect, who committed a homicide and got into a shoot-out with a Sheriff’s Investigator (amongst other offenses), on July 13, 2021, as John R. McCarthy. The Sheriff’s Office continues to keep the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote.
“The Sheriff’s Office is identifying the 22-year-old victim of the homicide that occurred on July 13, 2021, at the Pilot Travel Center, as Anthony F. Griger. We offer our prayers and condolences to his family, friends, and wife. The family is requesting their right to privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
A woman wrote on Facebook, “This could have been anyone of us stopping for gas in the morning. Can’t imagine what his family and friends are going through. Condolences will never be sufficient. Heartbreaking. Tragic. Unbelievable.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Sheriff Says Griger Was ‘Viciously Executed’
According to the sheriff, at 7:30 a.m. July 14, authorities received a shots fired call at Pilot Travel Center, 13712 Northwestern Ave., Franksville.
“A 32-year-old white male from Hartland approached a 22-year-old white male from Elkhorn who was simply putting gas in his car and was viciously executed,” the sheriff said. Both Elkhorn and Hartland are located in southeastern Wisconsin not far from Milwaukee.
“I personally watched this video of this horrific event, and I found it to be extremely disturbing and heart wrenching to view,” Schmaling said, adding of the family of Griger, “I can’t imagine the pain and suffering they’re experiencing.”
After “brutally executing this innocent 22 year old, the suspect then shot at another citizen as that person was driving through the parking lot. Thankfully that person was not injured,” said the sheriff.
The suspect “left at a high rate of speed,” and “officers from Caledonia witnessed the suspect aggressively pull into the parking lot” at a Mobil gas station, in the Village of Caledonia, said Schmaling.
The Sheriff’s Office has set up at tip line at (262) 636-3990. “Anyone who has any additional information concerning this incident can reach the Criminal Investigations Bureau at that number,” wrote the Sheriff’s Department.
The shooter previously lived in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, also near Milwaukee, online records show.
An Undercover Sheriff’s Investigator Stopped the Shooter
What McCarthy didn’t realize was that an “undercover investigator with 21 years of experience with the Racine Sheriff’s Office was just beginning his shift and putting gas in his unmarked squad,” said the sheriff.
McCarthy “quickly approached the investigator with his gun drawn and began to shoot at him,” Schmaling described.
But the investigator was armed and “both exchanged gunfire,” with McCarthy dying of his wounds and the investigator hospitalized with gunshot wounds – but he’s conscious and alert, according to the sheriff.
He described how the attacks occurred at a busy time in the morning with “people getting gas” and coffee and praised the “quick and heroic act of the investigator,” saying he “saved lives today.”
The investigator’s name was not released.
The Caledonia police chief said in the same news conference that the incident is a reminder that “law enforcement is out there doing their jobs on a daily basis,” and he said “our hearts” go out to the family of Griger.
Griger’s father posted a photo of a wooden chair that he wrote on Facebook that he and his son made together, after his death. “Can’t even come up with words to convey how sorry we are. Our deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your family,” a woman wrote on his thread, echoing the thoughts of others.