RACINE -- Protesters gathered on Thursday, Jan. 18 at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting less than 24 hours after the incident. With investigators still on scene searching for evidence, the demonstrators repeatedly asked how many times their friend had been shot and whether each of those shots was necessary.
While investigators wrapped police tape around police near the intersection of 14th and Park, the protesters tied ballons around a nearby street light Thursday. Family and friends said the man killed in the officer-involved shooting is Donte Shannon, 26.
"When all the other officers showed up, I had to tell them where to go," said Joseph Williams, who said he witnessed the incident from his home near 14th and Villa.
Williams said he saw officers pull over Shannon, whom he considers an acquaintance, at 14th and Villa on Wednesday afternoon.
"He gets out of the car and runs," Williams said.
Police said officers stopped the car because there was no front license plate. Both police and Williams said Shannon then ran one block east.
"He ended up in the 1400 block of Park Ave. Officers followed in pursuit," said Sgt. Adam Malacara of the Racine Police Department. "They chased him into the yard of one of the homes. He presented with a gun, aimed it at our officers. Our officers fired upon him and he was struck; I don't know how many times."
Williams said he heard three rounds of gunfire, each about a second apart. He estimated it was a total of at least a dozen shots.
"If all the gunfire did not come from the suspect who is deceased, I feel this situation should be looked into a little better and someone has some explaining to do on why so many gunshots were fired," Williams said.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is leading the investigation. Officials said on Thursday they had no new information to release.
Racine police said Thursday officers do not have body cameras and the squad involved in Wednesday's stop was unmarked and had no dashboard camera. DOJ officials said, as is their custom, they will release records from the incident after the investigation is complete.
"Time will tell. That's the only thing we can do is just wait," Williams said.
Friends of Shannon described him as a father with a wide smile who was known to act goofy and dance around with those closest to him. Wisconsin court records show Shannon had previous convictions for possession of marijuana, obstructing an officer, and bail jumping.
One neighbor, Tiffany Powers said she was inside her home across the street from the shooting scene but said she didn't hear much because she was with her baby at the time. She said she understood the protesters' message and was saddened to learn Shannon had died but added she has only had positive interactions with the police department.
“I’m sympathetic but can’t stress enough Racine PD isn’t bad. They’re part of our community," Powers said.
Those gathered at the scene of the shooting said they are planning to meet again on Friday before marching to the Racine Police Department.