2 charged in connection to stolen vehicle crash at 128th Air Refueling Wing

MILWAUKEE — Two 17-year-old boys have been charged in connection to a stolen vehicle crash at the 128th Air Refueling Wing at General Mitchell International Airport Sunday, Oct. 14 during a pursuit.

The suspects have been identified by sheriff’s officials as Lucas Zynel and Symmion Phillips.

Zynel faces the following charges:

  • Operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent
  • Attempting to flee or elude an officer
  • Second degree recklessly endangering safety

Phillips faces an operating vehicle without owner’s consent (knowing passenger) charge.

According to the criminal complaint, it all began around 3 p.m. in St. Francis when a woman reported that someone stole her vehicle from her driveway near Whitnall Avenue and Ahmedi Avenue.

Vehicle stolen from St. Francis before crashing at 128th Air Refueling Wing

Around 10 to 15 minutes later, her vehicle was seen on surveillance video in the east parking lot on Grange Avenue — just outside of the Air National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing at Mitchell International Field.

The video showed one man, identified as Zynel, driving the vehicle and meeting up with two others. The two driving a different stolen vehicle were identified as Phillips and a 14-year-old boy. The three teens were then seen moving items from the second vehicle into the first.

Other cameras on the base of the 128th Air Refueling Wing captured Zynel exiting the parking lot and driving west on Grange Avenue towards the entrance gate to the 128th Air Refueling Wing military base.

The criminal complaint said Zynel did not stop at the security checkpoint but rather continued to drive on Tanker Avenue on the military base. One of the military officers on duty began to pursue the vehicle.

In the middle of the pursuit, Zynel stopped the vehicle and swapped seats with the 14-year-old boy.

A shot was fired by authorities when the 14-year-old made no effort to slow down and only veered around an officer at the last minute. The military officer fired his duty weapon at the vehicle — striking one of the vehicle’s tires. From there, the 14-year-old continued to drive through a barricade at the end of the roadway.

A military personnel member then attempted to force the 14-year-old to stop the vehicle by pinning it in front while another security officer pulled a military squad vehicle close behind it. The 14-year-old did not stop and tried to drive around the barricade. In the process, the teen crashed into the officer’s squad car — causing damage. The 14-year-old struck another military security squad car on his way to try to exit the gate to the base.

The 14-year-old attempted to drive through the closed gate to the base, but was unsuccessful and got stuck. At that point, several military officers ordered the three teens out of the car at gun point.  All three were then taken into custody.

The criminal complaint says squad video showed the 14-year-old and Phillips laughing and joking about the fact that they were on a military base and being shot at. Phillips said he saw military personnel in the parking lot when they were moving property from one stolen vehicle to the other. The two continued to laugh about the damage to the military security squad vehicles and both made comments indicating they knew the vehicle was stolen when they entered it. Both acknowledged hearing a voice over the base PA system during the pursuit that the base was in lock down mode.

Shortly before this incident, there was a welcome home event held at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, honoring 250 airmen recently deployed with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, coming back from all points of the globe — some deployed for up to six months.