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Police: Suspect grabbed officer’s baton, officer opened fire

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says a suspect is dead, and a Milwaukee police officer was injured following an officer-involved shooting that happened at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee.

It all started around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30th, when a foot patrol officer on his beat learned of "trouble with a suspect" in Red Arrow Park.

Chief Flynn says the officer encountered the suspect laying on the ground. A witness tells police the officer helped him to his feet -- and was attempting to conduct a field interview.

Chief Flynn says the officer was patting the suspect down when a struggle ensued. The officer withdrew his wooden baton to defend himself, and Chief Flynn says the suspect took the officer's baton from him and began striking him in the head.

That's when the officer withdrew his service weapon -- a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson -- and fired "several shots" at the man -- striking him several times, ultimately causing his death.

Milwaukee Fire officials responded to the scene and pronounced the suspect dead on scene.

The officer in this case is 38 years old, and has 13 years of experience with MPD. He was taken to Froedtert Hospital for treatment of head injuries. He has since been released.

The suspect in this case is unidentified, according to police.

"He's not someone people know from the area. That may be one of the reasons we got the call," Chief Flynn said.

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he heard the gunshots.

"I heard the gunshots, and remarked 'that sounded like gunshots.' It was very rapid fire," Mayor Barrett said.

As this investigation continues, Chief Flynn says police will be taking inventory of surveillance cameras in the area to see if video of the incident is available.

Chief Flynn says officers will be interviewing witnesses -- and there are many of them, as Red Arrow Park sits next to Milwaukee's City Hall, on one of the city's busiest blocks.

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The state's Department of Criminal Investigation has been called in to the scene -- and is the lead agency in this case.

"They designate a lead officer whose responsibilities are defined by statute and we continue to interview eyewitnesses, we continue to process the crime scene as we always would," Chief Flynn said.

This is the first officer-involved shooting incident since Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation into law that requires officer-involved shootings be investigated by an outside agency.

"We don't find it at all burdensome -- or adding a level of complexity. The DCI people are with us observing, asking questions, making suggestions and certainly will be able to be present at any interviews we conduct," Chief Flynn said.

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Also on scene Wednesday afternoon were Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Fire and Police Commission and MPD's Major Crimes Unit.

Chief Flynn says investigators hope to speak with the officer involved, to get the officer's version of the events that occurred. They were waiting for him to be medically cleared.

Chief Flynn was asked during a news conference how many shots were fired at the suspect -- as a witness has indicated it could be between five and 10 shots.

Chief Flynn said, "10 sounds more like it, but I didn't count the shell casings."

It is unclear if all of those shots hit the suspect.

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30 comments

    • JokeEnthusiast

      Hey Hate Gov Leeches and Karen Kuehn, could you wait a few hours before you start cheering the killing of someone you don’t know?

      • Ms Elizabeth (@festachick)

        Hey Joke,if someone grabbed my baton and started hitting me in the head with it,I’d shoot them too. I don’t have any sympathy for thugs.They CHOOSE to be that. The officer CHOSE to WORK for a living and was doing his JOB!

      • JokeEnthusiast

        Ms Elizabeth, I was responding to comments made by two people who posted gleeful responses to the killing of someone within minutes of the story being posted without any of the details we now know.

        I don’t fault the officer for protecting himself and doing his job, now that we know some of the details. I hope what we know now is the full story.

    • JokeEnthusiast

      Tim, how much time do you spend downtown? It’s one of the safest areas of the city. This was pretty out of the ordinary.

  • King Hall

    I thought that downtown Milwaukee supposed to be a safe environment and quite and people could work and go out for lunch outside but people are crazy and want to be robbery.

  • Laura S.

    Uggghhhhh…read people! There was no “robbery”. He was lying down. Has not any one woken you up suddenly and you reacted? I know I have. This is just wrong. So, he got a hold of the officer’s baton…probably because the officer was poking him with it. I would grab that “*&%$#”, too!

    • POLICE WIFE

      and Laura you prob would have gotten the same outcome.

      Can you all wait to hear the officer’s side of the story as well, before you assume he was this mean person looking for trouble.
      it goes both ways

  • Steven

    no taser first?? I am PRO GUN and even I think blasting the guy several times with him only armed with a baton is a bit much…these cops should be trained a bit better than that, I am just a citizen and if i was approched and attacked by someone in this matter I would most likely discharge my weapon, however that scenario is NOT like this one, these cops are supposed to be trained in this manner dealing with the public, Flynn has made it very noted again and again that we are ALL guilty till said otherwise, however that stated I was not there either and if this cop was in fact taking a severe beating from this guy then my opinion may vary, however if in fact this guy COULD have ben detained any other way then that measure should have been taken

    • Lee

      He did do what he is trained if an officer feels they’re life is in danger they are justified to apply deadly force. An officer must go at least 1 level above the assailants force, a baton is at the same level as a taser..where actually a baton is considered deadly force when applied to the head so this officer had legal grounds to shoot. Deadly force is “which has caused or attempts to cause death or great bodily harm to you or another person” clearly justified.

      • Zen

        I am the Aunt of this man that was killed…to all of you don’t be so quick to judge ppl..he was not homeless..had no weapon…he set at the park and fell to sleep…all the officer had to do is help him up..ask one question…what’s your name..run his name…but yet he seen a black man sleep in a park..woke him up searched him…to those who feel the officer was right..what if it was you or your son..would you feel the same? This officer wasn’t in fear of his life…he simple killed my nephew…there was other things he could have and should have done before shooting him as well as over kill…I pray that all of you that think that he was right never get that knock or call…God Bless you all

  • Lee

    Sounds like a possible homeless person who like most homeless people have a psychological problem(s) and if you ever try to confront them they become very protective especially when you touch them. Why do I “assume this” normal people don’t lay on the ground in a park and the officer was probably called after he was most likely panhandling. Just ridiculous for people to blame the cop for doing his job..If you were being struck in the head you would defend yourself too.

  • mrsgriffin

    he was not a thug and he was not homeless however he did have psychological problems, so could the officer have done something else yes, maybe shot once to get him down, none of us was put in that situation ,so out of respect for his family please stop the belittling of him. its not a happy day when anyone lose their life, for either side. just pray for the officer and pray for his family.

  • Yolanda

    Be careful what you say Ms Elizabeth (@festachick) a mother lost her son, see you folk talk and dont know what the hell you talking about. that was my nephew. He was not on drugs and was not a thug. You dont know him or his medical history. Could of been your child!!!

  • Zen

    @police wife…we won’t ever know the truth because my nephew wasn’t given the chance to speak…or we will never hear his side…

    • POLICE WIFE

      @ZEN,
      You are very right in your comments, all im saying is like you want people to see your nephews side and not think of him as a bad person the same for the officers family
      Nobody wants their family member to seem wrong in the public eye, but this officer was doing his job.

      weather he was feeling discomfort or scared noone knows that but the officer or your nephew

      and to say that it was a black thing is just as bad on your part. Please don’t judge him for doing his job.
      I understand that you are mourning the loss of your nephew, and I am very sorry for your family

      just as I am for the officer involved.
      Both sides I’m sure, are still dealing with this emotionally and mentally

      please don’t take my response as someone trying to attack or argue
      lord knows I’m not trying to do so.

  • saddenbysituation

    Stupid means a person lacks the ability to reason or understand. Ignorance means that a person can reason and understand but merely does not have a specific data or awareness set necessay to make a correct conclusion. The two terms thus are not interchangeable. If you are one of these people, do not waste your time posting to this article.

  • Austin

    The officer did what was necessary. Seeing someone on the ground is out of the ordinary. i would have asked questions and searched him too.
    What if the suspect had a gun on him? Then we might have a dead cop too. And if I was hit repeatedly in the head with a baton and i could stop him from killing me i would make him stop no matter what force. In this situation it was kill or be killed.

  • Jerry Lee

    But if it was me getting hit like that. .and I shot the person doing it. ..I would be in jail until I proved myself innocent. ..Once again. .another cop will get away with murder. ..oh they never call it that. ..but when it comes right down to it…it’s murder just the same

  • Austin

    Actually it’s innocent untill proven guilty. Not guilty untill proven innocent. It’s also not murder because the definition of murder is the crime of killing another person deliberately and not in self-defense. IN THIS CASE IT WAS SELF DEFENSE!

  • omarr

    if i shoot you five to ten times im trying to kill you point blank and here in milwaukee it is guilty till proven innocent over half of the police districts is corrupt here and will kill anyone here when they are having a bad day or maybe it’s the power they have as officers regardless countless of innocent blacks and minorities are being gun down by the police all over u.s. and atlease 80% of the time it could have been handle different and im sure if he was your family member you wouldn’t think the cop was so innocent

  • Phillip Textor

    There was no crime reported or commited, therefore there was no legal justification for the pat down. Since there was no crime, this was a concentual encounter. Two other officers understood this and left him alone. The officer had no asuthority to start a pat down. That is assault. That will be ignored. The man was defending himself from an illegal assault. The cop is guilty of assalt and manslaughter, but it will be justified as “The officer was in fear of is life.” Despite the fact the officer escalated the encounter illegally. “He patted him down for officer safety.” Well, there was no indication of any threat to officer safety. “We don’t know what were getting in to.” True, but until you know, police have no authority to detain, search, or pat down. The only consideration will be officer safety. Ignoring the officer’s violation of the man’s rights.

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