Waukesha police honor James Lutz 20 years after killing
Capt. Lutz was killed April 28, 1994, while chasing a father and son
In a solemn ceremony Monday morning, Waukesha police named a training complex after Capt. James A. Lutz, who died 20 years ago in the line of duty.
Lutz, who was shot and killed while chasing father-son crime duo James and Theodore Oswald, formed Waukesha's first SWAT team 38 years ago.
"He was truly an educator and trainer of the highest standard," said Thomas Fletcher, a retired officer. "May he always be remembered as a true mentor of local policing."
The complex on Sentry Drive includes classrooms, training rooms and an indoor and outdoor range. The indoor range, however, is already named after Detective George Schmidling, who died while arresting burglary suspects in 1961.
On April 28, 1994, Lutz, 57, responded to an alert about an armed bank robbery in Wales and spotted the suspects in northwest Waukesha. The Oswalds jumped from their car with semiautomatic rifles and opened fire on Lutz, who never had a chance to react.
Three hours later, after a gunbattle with police that injured six people, the pair were arrested.
Both Oswalds eventually were convicted of more than a dozen crimes, including Lutz's murder, taking a hostage and robbing a Wales bank. They're serving life sentences in prison.
The Oswalds' crime spree and their subsequent trials shook Waukesha County. Ted Oswald, now 38, said in court at the time that his father, who spoke in the fictitious Star Trek language of Klingon, had molded him into a soldier and threatened to kill him if he didn't participate in the crimes.
James Oswald, now 69, represented himself at his trial, which he used as a pulpit for rants and insults.
Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack called the Oswalds "two evil men — they do not even deserve to have their names mentioned today."
"(Lutz) died protecting his fellow officers," Jack said. "He died doing a job he loved passionately."
Diane Lutz, James Lutz's widow, attended the ceremony but did not wish to speak to members of the media.
A dispatcher who got the call that Lutz had been shot wept during the ceremony. Dorothy Wavra said the day stands out in her memory above all others.
"That's the one thing you never want to have is an officer-down call," she said. "But you have to be prepared for it."
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