Deer District shootings leave Milwaukee leaders on the brink

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Milwaukee’s mayor and police chief on Tuesday implored citizens and lawmakers to help address ongoing gun violence punctuated by shootings outside an NBA playoff game that left 21 injured.

Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said police arrested 11 people between the ages of 19 and 30 for the Friday night incidents near a downtown entertainment area known as the Deer District. Two of those arrested were identified as shooters. Nine of the 11 guns recovered were fired that night, Norman told a news conference.

Three people were killed in separate shootouts around town the following night.

Norman said police will deploy additional officers and resources and enforce an already-on-the-books curfew for young people 17 and under. He said violence would not be the “new normal” and asked the community to help him.

“Our path to a safer Milwaukee requires everyone to come together in partnerships,” Norman said. “Standing away is not an option.”

Mayor Cavalier Johnson said, “We especially need, especially need, parents to step in. We need parents to step in now.

Seventeen of the people were injured on Friday when two feuding groups appeared to meet randomly after the playoff game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics. Officials released video on Tuesday showing one of the groups gathering at a street corner when the other group walking on a sidewalk emerged from behind a building, triggering the exchange of gunfire.

“First of all, you have individuals that we just saw on video who had complete and blatant disregard for their fellow citizens and their lives,” Johnson said. “They fired into a crowd where there were hundreds or thousands of people gathered. It’s completely acceptable and we can’t stand that in Milwaukee.”

Norman said investigators had not determined if there was a known gang affiliation, but called it “a dispute between two groups that came to a head when they saw each other that unfortunate night.” Police have yet to determine the motives for the other two shootings.

The Deer District is a 30-acre entertainment hub that was developed after the opening of the Fiserv Forum in 2018. It includes many bars and restaurants where large crowds often gather to watch major sporting events or attend sports events. festivals.

The first shooting on Friday took place at 9:10 p.m., about five minutes before the end of the match, when three people, including a 16-year-old girl, were injured. One person was injured in the second shooting around 10:30 p.m., police said. The clash between the two groups began at 11:09 p.m.

Two people have been charged. Otis Green, who was shot in the leg, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and jumping bail. Jeremiah Fraylon, who was shot in the upper arm, is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted offender, carrying a concealed weapon and breaching bail.

After a year in which 180 of Milwaukee’s 193 murders were committed by firearm, the city has recorded at least 80 killings so far this year. This is an increase of more than 40% compared to the same period in 2021. The number of non-fatal shootings this year is 264, two less than the same period a year ago.

Norman bristled at the idea that gun violence is a Milwaukee narrative, calling it a “societal issue” and pointing to recent fatal shootings across the country. Johnson, the mayor, said the Wisconsin legislature needs to make it harder for people to get guns, especially those who are “so angry and not responsible enough” to have them.

“Access to firearms for individuals is a state issue,” Johnson said, who later added, “The city system worked. The police caught people. street weapons. The police arrested those responsible.

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