There was a police shooting of an armed man on Friday afternoon in Milwaukee and people gathered to protest the death of the man which catapulted the city into chaos. After a standoff between police and the angry crowd for a few hours, things escalated and soon cars, businesses, and even a gas station were set on fire to protest the shooting.
The Milwaukee Police News gives the details of the initial shooting that started the rage:
The incident began when two uniformed MPD officers stopped two suspects in a car in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street at about 3:30 p.m. on August 13. Shortly after stopping the suspects, both occupants fled from the car on foot. The officers pursued the suspects, and during the foot pursuit one officer shot one suspect, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, in a yard also in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street. The suspect died from his injuries at the scene.
The suspect is a 23-year-old Milwaukee man with lengthy arrest record. The handgun he was armed with was taken in a burglary in Waukesha in March of this year. The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun.
The officer is a 24-year-old, male, assigned to MPD’s District 7. He has six years of service with MPD, three years as an officer. He was not injured and, as is standard practice, will be placed on administrative duty during the investigation and subsequent review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.
There have been unverified reports that the suspect’s name is Sylville K. Smith, and there is a person with that name who has been arrested in Milwaukee in the past. Numerous people from Milwaukee have been mourning a man by the same name on Facebook.
Mayor Tom Barrett says an officer with six years experience stopped a suspicious vehicle and two passengers ran from the car. The officer pursued one of the suspects and ordered the 23-year-old to drop his gun. The officer fired on the suspect and he was hit with two bullets; one in the arm and one in the chest. The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting.
Crowds started to gather early Friday night.
Cars, including police cruisers, were set ablaze and bricks were thrown through windows.
Police and firefighters were not quick to put out the fires because some individuals were throwing rocks at them and there was gunfire in the area.
A bus stop was destroyed and dragged into the middle of the street.
An auto parts store was set on fire.
A beauty store was looted.
The windows at a bank were destroyed.
Rioters started a fire at a gas station.
Many of the journalists at the scene believed their lives were in danger.
This is what the BP gas station looks like now.
The morning after the tumultuous series of events there is some hope. Volunteers are cleaning up the burnt-down gas station.
Just earlier in the day before the armed man was shot was this encouraging moment.
The night before, there were nine shot and five men were killed in shootings within a nine-hour span Friday evening and Saturday morning. All of the victims were men between the ages of 21 and 36.