Road rage led to shooting on I-43; 2nd incident in as many days; 7th freeway shooting this year

Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- For the second time in as many days (and seventh time in 2019), a portion of I-43 was shut down after reports of shots fired on the interstate. Shortly after 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, a report of shots fired shut down a stretch of northbound I-43 through the Marquette Interchange. This, with Milwaukee police searching for the person responsible for a freeway shooting on Monday night, Oct. 14 that closed the southbound lanes of I-43 just north of downtown for several hours.

Yet another shooting on the freeway frustrated drivers fed up by the repeated reports of gun violence.

"It's a scary thing," said Tony Lawrence. "Just like, a quick reaction and unfortunately, people just decide to take extreme measures, and it's kinda stupid. Please stop. Think about who's around you and just be concerned about the well-being of the general public."

Report of shots fired on NB I-43 near Marquette Interchange

According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, around 6 p.m. Wednesday, a deputy was dispatched to MPD's District 5 station to talk with an individual who stated he was shot at on northbound I-43 near the Marquette Interchange.

The victim stated a driver cut him off, and then both vehicles were alongside one another when the victim gestured at the shooter, who fired shots, striking the victim's vehicle twice. The victim followed the shooter off the McKinley Avenue ramp--  but lost sight of the vehicle when the driver ran a traffic light.

Sheriff's officials ordered the shutdown of I-43 near the Marquette Interchange, where a .40 caliber casing was located.

Report of shots fired on NB I-43 near Marquette Interchange

Shortly after 9 p.m., the shutdown was lifted -- and traffic resumed on northbound I-43.

Sheriff's officials said they were looking for a tan Ford Taurus and two individuals, a black man in his late 20s to early 30s, with facial hair, and dreadlocks, and a passenger, described as a white female with blonde hair.

On Monday night, Oct. 14, police said a 19-year-old man was shot around 8:30 p.m. while driving on southbound I-43 near 8th and Keefe. He continued driving, eventually stopping at the McDonald's restaurant near 9th and North Avenue. From there, the victim was taken to a hospital.

Victim from freeway shooting stops at McDonald's at 9th and North Avenue, Milwaukee

Shots fired on freeway -- I-43 SB

Shots fired on southbound I-43 near Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee

The victim's injuries were described as minor, but Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said when an arrest was made, the case would be treated as a serious crime.

"Just one moment of unregulated behavior is going to have dramatic consequences to the victims, and if you are caught, it's going to have dramatic consequences for the individual engaging in that behavior, too," said Chisholm.

Other freeway shootings in 2019

Oct. 14: A 19-year-old man was shot on I-43, and police said he then drove to the McDonald's near 9th Street and North Avenue, and he was taken to the hospital from there.

Oct. 6: A portion of I-894 was shut down at the Forest Home Avenue off-ramp. An investigation revealed a vehicle may have repeatedly back-fired while traveling on the interstate in this vicinity.

Sept. 23: The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office investigated a report of shots fired on Highway 145 and 76th Street. There were no injuries.

Aug. 6: Two young men said they feared for their lives when shots were fired near the Hawley Road off-ramp from westbound I-94. Zachary Blavat said he and his brother were driving around 3 a.m. when they noticed a silver vehicle on the side of the road. Blavat said they decided to show kindness -- asking the driver if he needed help. Blavat said the man opened fire toward the vehicle he and his brother were in. The brothers got away and quickly called authorities. Their vehicle was hit. Prosecutors said Austin Fountaine "admitted to shooting at the blue Pontiac." Fountaine apparently told police "throughout the night, he had observed multiple cars following him on the freeway. He stated that an Escalade and a Ford had followed him that evening, and he had observed handguns coming out." The complaint said Fountaine "stated that after he crashed, he saw the blue vehicle wind up and attempt to hit him on the ramp. He stated that the passengers of the blue car were 'mugging' him, and he fired his gun at it three times." Fountaine told police "after the shooting, he went home, showered, relaxed, and called a buddy to help him dispose of the firearm. He stated that his friend drove him to Lake Michigan, and then tossed the gun into the lake." A doctor's report return was scheduled for Nov. 22 for Fountaine, to see whether a possible not guilty by mental disease/defect plea could be supported in the case.

June 14: All southbound lanes of I-43 at Locust Street were closed due to a "report of shots fired." Eventually, investigators determined there was no evidence of any shots fired occurring on the freeway.

May 21: Officials with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office worked to determine whether shots were fired on I-43/94. All southbound lanes near National Avenue were shut down for a couple hours while deputies checked things out.

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