Wis. officers pay respects to fallen colleague
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (AP) — Police from across southeast Wisconsin joined hundreds of mourners paying their respects Saturday to Jennifer Sebena, the Wauwatosa police officer who was killed while on patrol earlier this week.
Gov. Scott Walker and Wauwatosa Mayor Kathleen Ehley also attended the funeral in Brookfield at Elmbrook Church, where Sebena’s coffin was draped with an American flag. Uniformed officers with black bands across their badges recalled Sebena as a hard worker and spiritual person who quickly earned her colleagues’ trust.
One speaker referred to Sebena as a friend, colleague and sister, while a number of officers in the audience bowed their heads and dabbed their eyes. Officers from nearby cities covered work shifts so Wauwatosa police could attend the services.
Sebena, 30, was found dead of multiple gunshots early Monday morning, when she was on patrol in the Milwaukee suburb. Her husband, 30-year-old Benjamin Gabriel Sebena, has been charged in her death and is being held on a $1 million cash bond.
Police arrested Ben Sebena after the decorated Iraq War veteran allegedly acknowledged to investigators that he stalked his wife for a few days before ambushing her.
Jennifer Sebena was in her second year with Wauwatosa police. Earlier this week, Wauwatosa police Chief Barry Weber remembered her as “everything I could hope for in a young police officer: intelligent, energetic, willing to be of service and wanting to be a great police officer.”
Her death left members of the department shaken, and flags across the state were set at half-staff in her memory.
A few weeks before she died, Jennifer Sebena told a colleague her husband had been violent and put a gun to her head, according to the criminal complaint. Weber has said he wasn’t aware of any issues that would have been a cause for concern for Jennifer Sebena’s safety.
Ben Sebena, a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq, was honorably discharged in 2005 after suffering severe arm and leg injuries in a mortar attack.
In a video he made in 2010 for the church, which he and his wife attended, Ben Sebena described his transformation from an angry teen into a decorated war veteran who rediscovered his faith in God. He talked of being filled with rage before and after his military career.
But he also discussed his blossoming relationship with Jennifer, whom he knew from high school and with whom he exchanged emails during his recovery. He said their love flourished.
Ben Sebena is charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Messages left for his defense attorney, Michael Steinle, were not immediately returned Saturday.