MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn announced during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, July 24th a 39-year-old man is in custody in connection with the shooting of two young children Wednesday night near 37th and Hadley.
The shooting happened just before 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. A homeowner's surveillance video shows four people rushing from a home following the shooting.
Chief Flynn says the 39-year-old suspect was on probation at the time of the shooting, and was just recently released from prison.
Police spent the day Thursday looking for the suspect -- and were eventually able to take him into custody in violation of probation charges.
Chief Flynn says the man was in a van with a woman and seven children between the ages of two and 11.
Chief Flynn says the man got into some sort of altercation with others in the neighborhood near 37th and Hadley, and that's when a gun battle ensued.
Some of the bullets hit the side of a home. Others, hit two young children.
Two children -- a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were struck by gunfire, and injured.
The children were transported to the hospital by their mother.
The children are said to have suffered non life-threatening injuries. They were still in the hospital Thursday.
Chief Flynn said Thursday the children's mother had just gotten custody of her children -- after losing them due to child abuse.
Chief Flynn said the city of Milwaukee's Department of Neighborhood Services went to the children's home on Thursday to check it -- and the city has decided to condemn the home, due to feces, cockroaches and bed bugs.
"Do these kids have a chance? Do kids have a chance who are put in harm's way by reckless parents?" Chief Flynn said Thursday.
Chief Flynn said the area where this shooting happened, MPD's District 7, includes over 100,000 people.
"Too many people are being shot, and far too many children are being shot. No community should tolerate that or accept that as normal," Chief Flynn said.
Chief Flynn says District 7 is just one are afflicted by high rates of crime.
"Remorseless, reckless criminals in possession of firearms shooting at each other -- and they don't care who they hit. Just because these people are scary, just because they carry guns, does not make them men. This year, MPD, in a city of 600,000, has seized 1,340 firearms from the streets of this city," Chief Flynn said.
During the press conference, Chief Flynn announced police will have a high presence in the area where this shooting occurred -- for the next four days, in an effort to help neighbors feel comfortable enjoying being outdoors on beautiful summer days -- "to give these people a taste of life in the suburbs," Chief Flynn said Thursday.
"We will do our best to recreate the environment of the suburbs -- to see people on their front porches and in their front yards. We have community partners in the faith community and on the streets of this city standing against this violence," Chief Flynn said.
On Thursday night, police said those extra patrols were already paying off. Officers in the neighborhood stopped a car for a traffic violation at 38th and Hadley. The 23-year-old driver was wanted in connection with a homicide investigation.
Police say he had two kids in the car (ages two and four) and a semi-automatic weapon, and what police say appears to be marijuana.
Mayor Barrett joined Chief Flynn in his news conference -- and spoke about the people in the neighborhood where this shooting occurred -- calling what happened Wednesday night "insane," and again asking for the assistance of Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature in getting illegal guns off the streets.
"Children in this neighborhood deserve a safe neighborhood. There are a lot of good people in this low-income neighborhood. We need to make sure people in every neighborhood in this city can play outside on a gorgeous day like today. What happened (Wednesday) night was once again, insane. Any man who gets in a vehicle with seven children and decides to get in a gun battle is a coward. This is the insanity we are dealing with -- with individuals who have access to illegal guns," Mayor Barrett said.
FOX6 News has learned the seven children in the van during the shooting on Wednesday night have been taken into custody by the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare.
This shooting has neighbors who live in the area -- and folks throughout the city of Milwaukee and beyond saying the violence has got to stop.
One neighbor, who lives near the shooting scene at 37th and Hadley in MPD's District 7 says hearing gunshots is a common occurrence.
Booker Coleman has watched the streets near 37th and Hadley change over the years.
"I moved here in '72. It`s a whole lot different than when I moved here. This was a nice neighborhood," Coleman said.
Coleman's house has bullet holes in it.
He says he was home on Wednesday night when shots rang out. This time, two young children were sent to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
"My daughter, she says she heard, I don`t know, about seven or eight shots," Coleman said.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and others showed up on Thursday to say enough is enough. It's a sentiment echoed by Coleman and other neighbors.
"It makes me so nervous to live in this area. My momma don`t even want to live here no more. She's been living here for like 60 years," one neighbor told FOX6 News.
Coleman says he plans to stay put -- but he says he thinks it's time for residents to step up and take back the streets.
"If you see something, they should be able to call the police and report it," Coleman said.