MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett spoke Thursday, July 26 about the fatal shooting of a veteran Milwaukee police officer near 28th and Wright. This, as those who live in the area where it happened said they're saddened by this tragedy, and praying for Officer Michalski's family.
"It is a sad morning in Milwaukee given the tragedy that occurred (Wednesday) night -- and we'll be talking more about that, but the family of the fallen police officer is hurting, obviously. The police department as a family is hurting -- and the city is hurting," the mayor said during a scheduled event at the city's Century City One site Thursday morning.
The officer, identified as Michael Michalski, a 17-year veteran of the force, died as a result of serious injuries suffered in the shooting.
He was at a home in the area of 28th and Wright to check for a suspect wanted on drug and gun violations. The suspect, identified as Jonathan Copeland Jr., was taken into custody -- and a weapon was recovered, police said.
Neighbors captured the chaotic scene on camera, as Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said members of MPD's Special Investigations Unit were in the area Wednesday evening for a check on the wanted suspect. Chief Morales said Copeland was wanted for violation of parole, possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and harassment intimidation offenses. Members of MPD’s Special Investigations unit observed Copeland Jr. run into a home in the area. As officers ran into that home, Chief Morales said Copeland Jr. fired multiple times at the officers, who returned fire. Chief Morales said after Copeland Jr. fired at officers and ran out of ammunition, he gave up.
Chief Morales said the convicted felon with an “extensive juvenile and adult criminal history" was taken into custody Wednesday.
"It was like 'pow, pow, pow, pow, pow," said Anthony Hicks, neighbor.
"I was walking up to see one of my guy friends and police started pulling up out of everywhere," said Johnathan Ivory.
The sound of gunfire consumed the neighborhood.
"I want to say 15. There were multiple shots," said Ivory.
Hicks said innocent bystanders ducked for cover.
"That's a terrible blow. Too close to home," said Hicks.
The shooting took the life of Officer Michalski, a father of three. He died at the hospital, despite life-saving efforts.
"I don't get it. I just don't get it," said Raymond, neighbor.
Less than 24 hours later, officers at the scene grieved this terrible loss, as they worked to piece together how a drug investigation led to a homicide.
"The officer who was shot, he was a good officer," said Pastor Malcolm Hunt.
Hunt, a retired officer, was working to help those who are grieving.
"I'm going around talking to the officers, asking if they want prayer, or if there is anything they want to talk about," said Hunt.
Neighbors said they're praying for Officer Michalski's family.
"Try to hope they find some sort of forgiveness in their heart, so their heart doesn't become bitter," said Hicks.
This, as others are calling for an end to all the violence.
"When will people wake up? How long will it take? How much tragedy must happen?" said Raymond.