U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Special Agent James Krueger, Drug Enforcement Administration, Wisconsin

2017 Federal Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Recipient

On March 16, 2017, members of two Drug Enforcement Administration task forces operating in the Milwaukee area executed search warrants and arrested two heroin distributors. One of the offenders cooperated with investigators and agreed to order heroin from his supplier as part of a “buy-bust” operation, that it was hoped would also lead to the supplier’s arrest. His supplier agreed to deliver the drugs to a residential neighborhood in Milwaukee.

The two task forces were assisted by members of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Group, the West Allis Police Department, and the Milwaukee Police Department. Special Agent James Krueger was assigned surveillance and arrest team duties during the arrest operation targeting the supplier.

The supplier arrived at the target location, driving a vehicle with dark tinted windows. The arrest teams had positioned their vehicles in order to contain the supplier and make the arrest, but the suspect recognized the approach of the law enforcement vehicles and attempted to evade arrest by aggressively fleeing the scene in his vehicle. In attempting to flee, the suspect drove his car into a tree. One arrest team member then positioned his vehicle against the rear of the suspect's vehicle, pinning it to the tree. The wheels of the suspect’s vehicle began to spin rapidly as he attempted to break containment.

Other members of the arrest teams approached the suspect’s vehicle and attempted to knock out its windows. Due to the heavy tinting material, the windows did not shatter, making it difficult for them to see into the car.

Special Agent Krueger moved in to assist with the arrest. At this point, the rapidly spinning wheels of the suspect’s vehicle began to produce smoke. As Special Agent Krueger approached the vehicle, he could see through a hole made by officers attempting to break out the vehicle’s rear window. Through this hole, he saw that the suspect was pointing a gun directly at the head of one of the arresting officers. Because of the tinted windows, that officer had no way of knowing his life was in immediate danger.

Recognizing the threat, Special Agent Krueger fired his weapon, striking the suspect several times. The other officers retreated behind vehicles and began giving verbal commands to the suspect, ordering him to put down the gun, exit the vehicle, and receive aid. Because the officers still could not see into the vehicle, it was deemed too dangerous to approach it until additional tactical support could arrive on the scene.

The wheels of the suspect’s vehicle continued to spin rapidly, and the vehicle began rocking back and forth. Special Agent Krueger, realizing the danger that an out-of-control vehicle could pose to the officers and to the public, re-entered his vehicle and moved it into contact with the rear bumper of the suspect’s vehicle, further containing it from breaking free. In doing so, he again placed himself in the potential line of fire by the suspect.

Once the agents and assisting officers approached the suspect’s vehicle, they found him unresponsive in the driver’s seat. They also saw that he was holding a semi-automatic handgun in his right hand, with his finger still on the trigger of the firearm. In addition, large quantities of heroin and cash were recovered from the vehicle. The suspect was taken into custody but died as a result of his injuries.

Special Agent Krueger demonstrated courage and decisiveness as he knowingly exposed himself to imminent danger to protect the lives of his fellow officers and the surrounding community. His actions were instrumental to quickly end a volatile situation.

Learn about all of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery recipients

See All Recipients