MILWAUKEE -- Investigators from outside the city were on Milwaukee's north side Monday, September 4th looking into a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened Sunday night near 39th and Congress. Friends and relatives of the 37-year-old man shot and killed by police told FOX6 News he was armed but also legally blind.
Witnesses and police both said the man fired his gun with officers nearby. Family members said he did so to break up the large fight that prompted the police response. Relatives, who identified the man as Antwon Springer, didn't know police were there because he couldn't see.
The sidewalk outside the home where the shooting happened had lots of foot traffic Monday afternoon. Relatives mourned outside while police from suburban agencies looked for witnesses as part of a countywide task force that investigates officer-involved shootings in Milwaukee County.
Milwaukee Police Asst. Chief William Jessup police responded to multiple calls about a large street fight in the area around 10pm Sunday night.
"Subjects with bats. As officers responded, there were shots fired in addition to the scuffle that was taking place. When officers arrived on the scene, they confronted an individual that had a gun. Two officers discharged their firearms, striking that subject," Jessup said.
Friends and relatives said Springer did fire shots with police in the area. They said he was shooting into the air to break up the fight and, because he was legally blind, he could not see that police were already there.
"He literally stepped out just to say 'pow, pow -- get away from house!`'You have 40 to 50 people chaotically fighting on your lawn. What would you do?" Angel Lewis, Springer's cousin said.
Police said it's too early to confirm Springer was shooting into the air.
"We don't have those details. I can tell you we did recover the weapon. There are casings on the scene to indicate the weapon in his possession was discharged," Jessup said.
Police described Springer as a convicted felon. Court records show a 1999 conviction for driving a stolen car and a 2006 conviction for felon possessing a firearm.
A man who would only identify himself as Springer's longtime friend, Pernell, said relatives are upset police were quick to announce that.
"I don't see why you put that out there to create this narrative that, you know, he was wrong," Pernell said.
The Wauwatosa Police Department is the outside agency leading this investigation. Lt. Brian Zalewski said, as of Monday, he had no knowledge as to whether Springer is legally blind.