At least 21 people were shot and injured in three separate shootings in Milwaukee’s downtown bar district after the Milwaukee Bucks playoff game, which drew thousands to the Deer District.
One of the shootings, which occurred shortly after 11 p.m., left 17 wounded.
The victims ranged in age from 15 to 47 and all are expected to survive, Milwaukee police said. Ten people were arrested and nine weapons were recovered, according to a brief Milwaukee police news release sent out early Saturday.
Authorities have not released further information about the victims, the ages of the suspects and what they believe led up to the shooting.
The mass shooting occurred shortly after 11 p.m. Friday on North Water Street near Highland Avenue, just two hours later and blocks from a previous shooting that injured three people, including a 16-year-old girl.
In that shooting, police arrested a 19-year-old man and said two other men, ages 29 and 26, were injured near the corner of North Martin Luther King Drive and Highland Avenue.
The gunshots sent hundreds of fans running through the Deer District, where 11,000 people had gathered to watch Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series between the Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Shortly after that shooting, around 10:30 p.m., a 20-year-old man was shot and injured on North Water Street near West Highland Avenue. It was unclear early Saturday if the shooting of the man was related to the mass shooting that occurred later at the same location.
The Deer District has drawn thousands of people downtown in the past year to cheer on the Bucks. The area has been seen by many as a unifying space in a city with a reputation for segregated spaces.
On the Friday night after the game, the streets were packed with people on what seemed like the first night of summer in the city.
Thousands of people flooded the Fiserv Forum and the Deer District and surrounding bars, with huge crowds flooding the streets in what was almost a festival atmosphere, complete with loud music, clouds of smoke and people stopping traffic for parties. improvised dance. .
Then the gunshots sent people running. AN sentinel newspaper reporter who left the arena around 11:30 p.m. heard sirens in all directions from dozens of police and ambulance squads and saw drivers running red lights, speeding, swerving, yelling at pedestrians and at least one driver going in opposite direction on a street.
The violence hit an entertainment district that has been hit by two years of the pandemic and other high-profile incidents of gun violence, including two homicides earlier this year.
Last month, Shannon Freeman, a 30-year-old father and beloved chef, was shot to death at The Loaded Slate bar. Prosecutors say a 24-year-old man shot him 11 times and continued to do so even after he fell to the ground after what appeared to be minimal interaction between the two inside the bar.
In February, Krystal N. Tucker, 31, was killed and two other people were injured in a shooting at the popular Brownstone Social Lounge, where Tucker worked. Authorities say the shooter had been denied access to the bar due to his age restrictions, and after being escorted out, he pulled out a gun and opened fire.
‘Everybody’s got a gun’: Alderman draws link to last summer’s violence
Last summer, violence in the Water Street area, including reckless driving, fights and shootings, drew widespread attention and public officials pledged to ensure the district was safe.
Police promised to maintain a “constant presence” in the area on weekend nights and on nights of Bucks home games. At the time, a bar owner told elected officials that “the lawlessness that has taken over our street is shocking and terrifying.”
In an interview Saturday morning, Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents much of downtown, said he has been listening to condo associations for the past month or two about his concerns about last summer’s violence downtown.
“I told them very frankly, based on current conditions, I don’t know why the violence of last summer wouldn’t happen again,” Bauman said. “I mean, you have the same dynamic.”
“The police had told me this last year and I suspect it is true again: everyone has a gun,” he added. “They are outgunned, by far.”
He also raised concerns about the downtown area, which he described as “non-bar patrons who just sit in or around their vehicles, drink, smoke and play music, and are armed.”
“With all of that happening again, there’s no reason this shouldn’t happen. Because the same conditions exist for it to happen: weapons, lawless behavior, hot weather with the magnetic effect of a Bucks game,” Bauman said. “You almost have to pray for the cold and the rain.”
The councilman said he had been told the police planned to increase staffing and have a large presence downtown, but Bauman is calling for discussions about security perimeters around entertainment districts, gun controls and the elimination of parking on the street. street in the area.
“They’re going to have to consider removing all street parking several blocks away to prevent follow-ups from taking place,” he said.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Council President Jose G. Perez could not immediately be reached for an interview Saturday morning. Johnson is expected to speak to reporters later on Saturday.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact Milwaukee police at (414) 935-7360 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-Tips or the P3 Tips app.