MILWAUKEE -- Matthew Wilks of Whitefish Bay is now charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Tracey Smith at 51st and Capitol Drive on Friday, Aug. 30.
Wilks, 35, faces the following criminal counts:
- First degree intentional homicide
- Possession of a firearm by a felon
According to the criminal complaint, Smith and her son were driving on N. 51st Boulevard on their way to a clothing store when they approached W. Fond du Lac Avenue. Smith's son was driving at the time. The son told police as he was making a turn onto Fond du Lac, a gold van that was on the passenger side of his car cut over in front of him to make a left turn from the wrong lane. As a result, there was a collision between the front passenger corner of the Smith vehicle and the driver's side of the gold van.
The complaint says as soon as Smith's son stopped the car, Tracey Smith got out to look at the damage. Smith's son told police his mother was upset and yelling at the driver of the van. The son then heard the driver of the van state, "(Expletive), I'll kill you." The complaint says "the driver of the van then pointed a gun and fired one shot." Tracey Smith stumbled and fell to the ground. Smith later died at a hospital.
"I wake up every morning and it's like wow, Tracey isn't here," said JoAnne Luckett, Smith's mother.
The bullet struck Smith in the heart and lung.
"I hate it. I hate it. I hate the way things are in this city," said Smith's mother.
Officials say the suspect in the van got back into the vehicle, did a U-turn and drove away. Detectives used surveillance video from the area to identify the license plate on the van involved in this crash. It was listed to Matthew Wilks. Smith's son also identified Wilks with a photo array shown to him by police.
"Just a senseless loss of life here as allegedly over what appears to be a minor traffic incident," said David Sweet, court commissioner.
According to the criminal complaint, Wilks was convicted in Feb. 2008 of the felony offenses possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of cocaine. Those convictions remain on record -- and have not been reversed.
Wilks' bail was set at $110,000. His next court appearance is set for Thursday, Sept. 12.
Statement of Alderman Khalif Rainey on this case
"Milwaukee Police have charged a 35-year-old man with the senseless killing of a Milwaukee woman following a minor traffic accident last Friday (August 30th) at the intersection of N. 51st St./W. Fond du Lac Ave. and W. Capitol Dr.
"Police say Tracey Smith was teaching her teenage son to drive when the man cut them off and collided with their vehicle in the intersection. When Ms. Smith attempted to talk to the man following the accident, he pulled out a gun and shot her in the chest.
"My prayers of support and condolences go out to the victim’s loved ones, and I ask the community to also continue to offer support and comfort.
"Ms. Smith was a longtime Department of Corrections officer who was well respected, and she was an especially important leader and bright light for her family and friends.
"Please speak up and speak out against violence and reckless driving in our community, and help keep our streets safe by reporting incidents of reckless driving to Milwaukee Police."