MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett encouraged folks to "come on downtown" just hours after an officer-involved shooting inside Red Arrow Park on Wednesday afternoon, April 30th. A Milwaukee police officer shot and killed a 31-year-old man after a struggle in the park. Now, the challenge for at least one organization is assuring people downtown Milwaukee is safe.
The group "Milwaukee Downtown" works to promote the downtown area as a safe place to live and work.
Those with Milwaukee Downtown say Wednesday's incident shouldn't keep anyone from enjoying what downtown has to offer.
"This is a really rare and isolated incident for us," Beth Weirick with Milwaukee Downtown said.
Shortly after the shots rang out, Weirick and others with Milwaukee Downtown got to work to combat a perception that the violent streets of Milwaukee now bleed into downtown.
"Crime will always come up. We`re human beings. No matter what decision you make in your daily life, you`re not going to take your family somewhere you don`t feel safe," Weirick said.
Weirick says downtown Milwaukee is safe.
On any given Thursday through Saturday night, Weirick says an estimated crowd of up to 100,000 visitors comes to downtown Milwaukee.
In fact, she calls the Red Arrow Park area a cornerstone of the city, where an increasing number of people live and work.
Milwaukee Common Council President Michael Murphy was in his office during the shooting -- right across the street from Wednesday's incident.
"Without a doubt, it shook up a lot of people. I think most people will recognize this for what it is. It was an isolated incident -- not reflective of our community and the downtown area at all," Murphy said.
Murphy says a bigger problem for Milwaukee isn't so much changing perceptions about what is safe and what isn't. He says the real issue is that we're becoming desensitized by violence.
"Our culture is very violent. That`s reflective in what we watch on TV, games we participate in, and it`s more of a reflection of modern day society," Murphy said.
Wednesday's shooting did not prompt a lockdown at City Hall.
Murphy says because the incident happened so fast, many in downtown Milwaukee didn't have time to react.
At least one building, Plaza East, advised workers to stay inside, but lifted that advisory within a matter of minutes.