Ald. Donovan recounts meeting man accused of shooting teen

MILWAUKEE — 13-year-old Darius Simmons was gunned down by his neighbor, 75-year-old John Spooner on Thursday, May 31st.The motive behind the shooting death of Darius Simmons remains a mystery. Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan says the Spooner sat down next to him for breakfast less than an hour before the shooting.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, just before 10 a.m. Thursday, Spooner confronted Simmons in front of the victim’s home.

Police say Spooner accused the teen of burglarizing his home and demanded his stuff back — including some shotguns. When Simmons denied his involvement, the criminal complaint says Simmons’ mother told Spooner he should “just go home.”  Instead, the court document says Spooner pulled out a gun and shot Simmons from less than five feet away — then shot at him again as he was running away.

Spooner has lived in his home for about 40 years.  Over the last decade Spooner developed a friendship with Alderman Donovan.

John Spooner

John Spooner

“He tells me ‘Bob I was robbed again, burglarized two days ago,’ and he suspects the people next door. In my conversation with him he just was resigned to deal with the situation as best he could,” Alderman Donovan said.

Donovan said Spooner was well liked by the community and has no criminal record. In addition to a burglary earlier this week, he has also been diagnosed with lung cancer and lost his wife a few years back.

“He just struck me as burdened by the cards that life is dealing him,” Alderman Donovan said.

Simmons’ family friend Juanisha Williams says the teen did not burglarize his neighbor and did not deserve to die.

“I was the sister. Always take care of him. I gave him money when he need it. That was my heart,” Williams said.

The family says the stories going around about Simmons’ involvement in burglarizing Spooner’s home are all lies.

Spooner has been charged with first degree murder in the case. His next court date is set for June 11th.

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