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‘Gun went off:’ Prosecutors say shooter ‘froze’ when argument led to fatal gunfire near 15th and Clarke

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors say a Milwaukee man admitted to shooting another man in August 2018 in a home near 15th and Clarke. A witness said the defendant indicated he “did not mean to do it,” and prosecutors said the defendant said “the gun went off” when he “tried to scare” the victim.

Daniel Williams, 31, faces two charges:

  • Second degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony

According to a criminal complaint, police were dispatched to the area near 15th and Clarke on Aug. 14 for a shooting. The victim was found unresponsive, with a gunshot wound to his groin. He was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of the single gunshot wound. His death was ruled a homicide.

A witness indicated he was in the kitchen of a home in the area and Williams was in his bedroom. The victim was on a couch in the living room. The witness said Williams asked the victim to leave the house, but the victim refused — and an argument ensued. The witness said he heard Williams go into the bedroom, and he heard the victim say, “I ain’t scared of that.” The witness said Williams had gone to the bedroom to get his gun from the edge of the mattress “where it was always kept.” He said he heard Williams cock the gun, and then heard the gun go off. He then heard the victim screaming that he had been shot. The witness said he asked Williams, “What the (expletive) did you do that for?” He said Williams replied that he didn’t mean to do it. The witness said he saw the gun in Williams’ pocket, and asked, “You know that gun don’t have a safety on it?” The witness said Williams indicated he was going to call 911, and he did.

Shooting at 15th and Clarke in August 2018

Shooting at 15th and Clarke in August 2018

During an interview, the complaint said Williams admitted he shot the victim. He said the person in control of the home did not want the victim there, so Williams “got a gun from the bedroom and tried to scare (the victim) by cocking the gun,” and “the gun went off.” Williams said he called 911 to get help, but when the dispatcher told Williams to apply pressure to the victim’s groin, he “froze” and “could not do it.” He said he “figured (the victim) had died because he was no longer saying anything.” He said he went outside and saw the fire department and tried to wave them down, but said the fire department did not come to the house because police hadn’t arrived yet. Williams said he then left the house, but denied taking the gun with him.

Shooting at 15th and Clarke in August 2018

Shooting at 15th and Clarke in August 2018

The complaint said Williams should’ve never had a gun in the first place, because he was convicted of theft of movable property — greater than $10,000 in July 2006.

Williams made his initial appearance in court on April 8. Probable cause was found for further proceedings. A preliminary hearing was set for April 16. Cash bond was set at $50,000.

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