A deadly shooting of an armed man by Milwaukee police has stirred anger, fear and disbelief as authorities restore calm in the city after a night of violent protest.
Protesters burned several stores and threw rocks at police Saturday night on the city’s north side, leaving one officer injured and three protesters arrested. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said protesters had been using social media to draw more demonstrators.
Local officials planned to meet with church and community leaders Sunday to discuss ways to move forward.
“I never thought I would see my own city in a state of unrest and a potential riot,” a resident told CNN affiliate WDJT.
It all started Saturday afternoon, when a pair of police officers stopped two people driving through the north-side neighborhood, police said. That led to a foot chase between the people in the car and police, which ended when an officer shot one of the two — a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, authorities said.
The police officer “ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun,” Barrett said during a news conference later in the day. “He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times.”
The man died at the scene. It was unclear Sunday morning whether the second occupant of the car was in police custody. The officer who fired the fatal shots was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during an investigation.
The officer who fired the deadly shots is 24 years old and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department — three as an officer. Police provided no further details on the identities of the officer or the occupants of the car.
The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Barrett said.
“This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past,” Barrett said. The shooting occurred near the same place where a double homicide happened on August 9. In that incident a man was shot dead and another was fatally stabbed, police said.
City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a “powder keg” for potential violence throughout the summer.
“What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified,” Rainey said. “This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country.”
Rainey said Saturday’s violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.
“Something has to be done to address these issues,” he said. “The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life.”
Go home, mayor pleads
As the chaos escalated Saturday, the mayor pleaded with protesters to end their demonstrations.
“If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done,” the mayor said.
“I know this neighborhood very, very well. And there are a lot of really really good people who live in this area — in the Sherman Park area, who can’t stand this violence.”
At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, police tweeted they were restoring order and “reducing deployments.”
Police: Suspect had stolen gun
The unidentified suspect was shot twice, in the arm and chest, the mayor said. The handgun he carried had been stolen during a burglary in nearby Waukesha in March, according to police.
“The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun,” police said.
Any evidence from the body camera video will likely become a key part of the investigation, said CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander.
“We’re going to see over the next number of hours and the next number of days what information [investigators] feel comfortable releasing to the public, Alexander said. “It think it’s going to be essentially important to get out as much of that video, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”
By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will lead the investigation.