An undercover investigator with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department began his workday on Tuesday, July 13, at the Mobil gas station, 10616 Northwestern Ave. Before starting his shift at about 7:30 a.m., he stopped to fuel his unmarked vehicle. While there, he encountered an active shooter. The 21-year investigator stepped up at the scene.

John R. McCarthy, 32, of Hartland, Wisconsin, was identified as the shooter. After arriving at the Mobil gas station, McCarthy and the investigator exchanged gunfire which left the investigator injured and McCarthy dead.

Back Story

Before McCarthy began firing at the undercover investigator, he shot and killed Anthony F. Griger, 22, of Elkhorn, at the Pilot Travel Center, 13712 Northwestern Ave. (Highway K). McCarthy additionally shot at a motorist pulling into the Pilot Travel Center before fleeing eastbound to where he came across the undercover investigator.

Heroism in Action During Racine Shooting

The investigator stopped McCarthy from hurting additional people. He did his job, and it saved lives.

For security purposes, the investigator’s name remains anonymous. Nonetheless, his selfless devotion to his job and the community cannot go unrecognized. The Racine County Eye honors him as the Hometown Hero of the week.

Additional Support

Racine County residents Angie Sadowski and Becky Romanowski created a GoFundMe for the investigator and his family. The money will cover medical bills and daily living expenses. Donations can be made here.

On Tuesday, July 20, the investigator made his way home from the hospital. Law Enforcement Officers from across Southeastern Wisconsin escorted him. The procession started at Fredoert Fredoert Hospital in Milwaukee and proceeded to the Racine County Sherriff’s Department Office.

He is continuing to recover in the comfort of his own home.

Further information

Good Morning America featured the story on their show. Watch the clip here. To read more about the incident, click here

Nominate a Hometown Hero

Do you know someone like the undercover investigator who has made a difference in Racine? Share their story by contacting Emma Widmar at and let us know why you think they should be honored.

Read about other heroes in the community by clicking here.

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