MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Hours after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett teamed up with church leaders to preach a message of peace for the annual “Ceasefire Sabbath,” Milwaukee police responded to three shootings.
One of Mayor Barrett’s stops Sunday was the Mason Temple near 35th and Florist. Pastor Osie Tatum Jr. reacted Monday to news of three shootings on the Ceasefire Sabbath.
“It hurts me deeply to know that in the very same hour that we’re here talking about ceasefire, talking about peace, that we’ve yet got people out in the community doing violent things,” Tatum Jr. said.
On Sunday morning, Mayor Barrett visited five churches to share a message of peace — just hours before police would respond to three shootings in a two-hour period.
In each incident, a man was shot, and the shooting near 16th and North has left a man fighting for his life.
“I recognize that people who fired those guns yesterday were not in church yesterday morning and that’s really the purpose of Ceasefire Sabbath — it’s to reach those people who are in church so that ultimately they can have contact with their sons, or nephews, or grandsons,” Mayor Barrett said.
Beyond using faith to reach families, both Mayor Barrett and Tatum Jr. say stricter gun laws are essential.
“We’re talking specifically about the background checks, for example. We thought in the wake of what happened in Newtown, that at the state and federal level, they’d act,” Mayor Barrett said.
Tatum Jr. says nine years later, he’s as confident as ever that the Ceasefire Sabbath is worth the effort.
“You’ve gotta do something. I would rather have tried to do something and failed than to do nothing…and it get worse,” Tatum Jr. said.
Police say four people are in custody in connection with the shooting near 76th and Silver Spring. There are no suspects in custody in connection with shootings near 34th and Wright and 16th and North.
Mayor Barrett says improving police-community relations and supporting youth groups is vital to reducing violence in the city.