Shooting after Bucks game: Shootings in downtown Milwaukee, WI, injure 21 near gatherings in Deer District, police department says

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee officials on Saturday issued a youth curfew and added additional patrols after 21 people were injured in three separate downtown shootings near an entertainment district where thousands were gathering for an NBA playoff game.

Three people were injured in the first shooting, one in the second and 17 in what police described as gunfire between two groups of people, all just blocks from the arena where the Milwaukee Bucks played the Boston Celtics lost 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals. All victims are expected to survive.

“What makes people think they can just have a shooting on a public street or in an entertainment district, whether the police are there or not?” asked Deputy Police Commissioner Nicole Waldner at a noon news conference.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the city has imposed a downtown curfew, requiring anyone under the age of 20 to be off the streets by 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Additional police patrols are also planned.

“We can’t have that in this city, or anywhere else in this state, or anywhere else in this country,” Johnson said.

The mayor did not name plans to ban the downtown watch parties for Game 7 on Sunday afternoon. Although the game takes place in Boston, thousands of fans often gather downtown to watch on big-screen TVs in the Deer District — an entertainment district with numerous bars and TV restaurants, where large crowds often gather to watch major sporting events.

Waldner said three people were injured in the initial shooting at 9:10 p.m. next to the Deer District. Including a 16-year-old girl. A man is in custody.

Bill Reinemann, a parking attendant at the parking lot next to the Deer District, said he heard gunshots and then saw dozens of people running away.

“It sounded like six to eight shots,” he said, “it was close.”

At 10:30 p.m., one person was shot. There was no arrest, said Waldner.

17 other people were injured in a shootout at 11:09 p.m. Five of the injured were armed and were among the 10 people taken into custody, Waldner said. Police have not yet determined what sparked the shooting.

“Despite the incredible police presence downtown, there were a few groups that exchanged gunfire,” Waldner said. “District 1 officers reported bullets whizzing past their heads.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that broken glass, empty alcohol bottles, single shoes and two bloodied shirts littered the streets in the chaotic aftermath.

Jake O’Kane, 25, of Appleton, Wisconsin, attended the playoff game with his girlfriend. After that, they saw the excitement from the first shooting, then walked a few blocks and spent a few hours in bars before deciding to take a Lyft ride to a restaurant.

O’Kane said they were outside waiting for their ride, “then all of a sudden you hear the ‘pop, pop, pop’ behind you.”

O’Kane said he heard about 20 shots before he was able to video 22 more. He estimated the shots came from a few hundred yards from his group.

When the driver pulled up less than two minutes later, “I said brother – drive!” said O’Kane.

The Bucks said in a statement Friday night that no shootings took place in the Deer District, where an estimated 11,000 fans who were unable to get to the arena gathered to watch the game.

Milwaukee was among several US cities that recorded a record number of homicides in 2021, most of which involved guns. The list also included Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and others.

Experts believe stress and pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the violence. Johnson blamed easy access to guns.

“A central part of the problem is that individuals have easy access to guns,” Johnson said. “This is not necessarily a Milwaukee problem. Across the country we have seen an increase in shootings, both fatal and non-fatal.”

Of the 193 homicides in Milwaukee in 2021, 180 were killed by guns. According to the police, another 873 people were injured in shootings.

This year the pace is even worse. Milwaukee has already recorded 77 homicides, a 40% increase from the same time in 2021. The number of non-fatal shootings this year is 264, down two from the same time a year ago.

O’Kane said he’s worried about the direction Milwaukee is going.

“Are we going to another game if we win? Yes, I will still go to Bucks games. But will we party outside afterwards? Hell no, not a chance.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/milwaukee-shooting-after-bucks-game-match-between-and-celtics-deer-district-downtown/11848707/ Shooting after Bucks game: Shootings in downtown Milwaukee, WI, injure 21 near gatherings in Deer District, police department says

Dais Johnston

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