MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday, Feb. 5 that two Milwaukee police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Antwon Springer near 39th and Congress on Sept. 3, 2017 "acted in accord with Wisconsin law and justifiably used deadly force." The incident was investigated independently by the Milwaukee County Investigative Team, led by the Wauwatosa Police Department.
A letter from Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said on that Sunday evening in September, officers responded to the area near 39th and Congress "for a large street fight involving numerous residents. Approximately two dozen people were in the street fighting when officers arrived, and objects such as sticks, bats and knives were reportedly used within the melee."
As officers attempted to intervene, the letter from Chisholm said "a number of shots were fired by Antwon Springer from the front porch of his residence." Multiple officers then drew weapons and repeatedly ordered Springer to drop his handgun. The letter said the "officers stood closely to Springer as they shouted these commands to him. Springer appeared to stare directly at the officers while continuing to hold the firearm, and never dropped the firearm as ordered."
That night, friends told FOX6 Springer was shooting into the air to break up the fight, and because he was legally blind, he could not see police were already there.
"He only stepped out to protect his family. What he thought he could do, that was all he could do. He literally stepped out just to say 'pow, pow. Get away from house! Get away from my house,'" said Angel Lewis, witness.
Chisholm said all four officers indicated to investigators "they believed their lives were in danger because Springer had already fired his gun, maintained possession of it, and did not drop it." One officer said "he perceived Springer to turn away from him" toward another officer while staring at him and not dropping the gun. That officer feared Springer would fire at the second officer -- "so he fired six shots at Springer." Another officer also fired shots striking Springer.
Chisholm's letter concluded by saying "the officers' use of force against Springer is lawfully permissible defense of self and others and therefore, justifiable."
According to Wauwatosa police, the gun Springer was armed with was reported stolen in a burglary a decade prior. As a convicted felon, he could not legally possess that firearm.