A Fox Lake woman who has been a Dallas police officer for a month received minor injuries in the shootings that killed five officers Thursday night.
The shootings took place Thursday night in Dallas during a protest over recent killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. At least one person opened fire on police, killing five and injuring seven others.
Gretchen Rocha grew up in Beaver Dam and, according to her father Craig Bayer, received shrapnel injuries. She was treated at the hospital and Bayer said Friday morning, “She’s actually going in to work tonight.”
Bayer, of Fox Lake, said he was watching a recorded program Thursday night when he got a call from his daughter.
“She called and said, ‘Dad I just want you to know I’m OK,’” Bayer said. “I had no context for this.”
He asked her why she was calling and Rocha told him that someone was shooting at the police in Dallas. She described a scene of chaos and said that injured officers were being carried to squad cars for shelter and treatment. Rocha told her dad she drove an officer to the hospital in a squad car and said, “I could feel him dying.”
Bayer said he asked her over and over if she was OK and was reassured she was fine.
“She’s more together than I am,” Bayer said Friday morning.
Rocha was home-schooled and earned a degree in criminal justice from Madison Area Technical College in 2015.
After graduation, Rocha interned with the Madison police in 2013 and worked with the department’s Amigos en Azul program, which focuses on outreach within the Latino community, because she is bilingual, police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.
“She was highly thought of in the Madison Police Department,” DeSpain added.
Rocha is married and has a 10-month-old daughter. Bayer said she was a waitress at Sunview Restaurant in Beaver Dam for several years and customers there may know her.
The family attended her graduation from the police academy in Dallas June 11. Rocha’s sister, Ingrid, pinned the department badge on her. Bayer said Rocha was part of class of 348 and her classmates voted to award her the Esprit de Corps award. He said the family is proud of her accomplishments and work.
He offered his daughter words of support during their phone call.
“I said ‘I pray for you every day,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, I know. Don’t stop.’”