Officers Receive Legislature’s Hometown Hero Award

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Michelle Phillips
Picture L-R: Hesselbein, Deputy David Lambrecht, Officer Richard O’Conner, Deputy Matthew Earll and Officer Tyler Loether.

MADISON–Officers from the Middleton Police Department Richard O’Conner, and Tyler Loether, and Dane County Sheriff Deputies David Lambrecht and Matthew Earll, were recipients of the of the Wisconsin Legislature’s Hometown Hero Award on Feb. 12.

The four were involved in shooting and killing Anthony Tong when they, along with many other law enforcement officers, responded to an active shooter in the workplace at WTS Paradigm (now known as Paradigm) in September 2018.

An investigation found that the officers repeatedly told Tong to drop his weapon, before firing upon him when he refused. An investigation following the incident cleared the men of any wrongdoing. 

Wisconsin State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-79) nominated the officers for the award, and said she felt the men were deserving of the honor because of the courage and valor they showed during the shooting, which left four people wounded.

“Middleton Police Officers Loether and O’Connor, and Dane County Sheriff’s Deputies Earll and Lambrecht are the brave individuals that saved our community from what could have easily been a massacre during the Middleton workplace shooting last September. Because of the heroic actions of these four men, many lives were saved at WTS Paradigm during the shooting. These men jumped into action and approached an active shooter who was refusing to drop his weapon. Loether, O’Connor, Earll, and Lambrecht are not only Hometown Heroes, but members of law enforcement serving our community every day, which is why I nominated these four fearless men for our Assembly Hometown Hero Award,” Hesselbein said. 

Middleton Police Chief Chuck Foulke agreed and said there were many other heroes that day as well.

“I would like to thank Representative Hesselbein and our Dane County law makers for recognizing Officers Loether, O’Connor and Deputies Earll and Lambrecht for their decisive brave actions on September 19. There were many heroes that day, including the employees of Paradigm, other nearby employees and public safety officials. An active shooter event was something we hoped would never happen in our community, but an event that we have trained and prepared for. I am pleased that because of the bravery of Paradigm employees and the decisive actions by public safety officials, the loss of life was limited to the shooter and that those wounded are on the mend,” Foulke stated. 

The Hometown Heroes program was designed to identify and honor people who made a difference in their communities around the state. 

Hesselbein said,”There are so many everyday heroes in our community that deserve the recognition. I hope through my work as a legislator, I am able to highlight as many heroic acts as possible. People in our community don’t expect the recognition, but this is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the courageous actions of individuals who put their life on the line for others.”

Hesselbein has nominated two other recipients of the award. In 2015, Mike Lockrone director of the UW-Madison marching band received the award, and Alex Haunty was recognized in 2017 for his work helping those with developmental disabilities pursue the arts. 

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