MILWAUKEE -- Twelve of Milwaukee's 20 homicides in less than two full months of 2020 involved women and/or children.
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Milwaukee police held a "Domestic Violence Summit," and a panel discussion was held the next day to brainstorm solutions to the violence.
By Saturday night, Feb. 22, two more women were dead. Aubrianna Lancaster, 30, and Menshala Pabai, 31, were fatally shot near 24th Place and Auer Avenue.
"I feel heavy," said Carmen Pitre with the Sojourner Family Peace Center. "I feel heartbroken for the families that are impacted. When you have two babies and a mom that are murdered, a woman set on fire, two women now recently murdered, this is a state of emergency. We need everyone in Milwaukee participating in solving this problem."
Aubrianna Lancaster, 30, and Menshala Pabai, 31, were shot around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 near 24th Place and Auer Avenue. A Milwaukee man, 32, was taken into custody at the scene. It wasn't immediately clear what might have led to the violence, but neighbors said they heard arguing, and then gunshots.
"It's devastating," said Tracey Dent, community activist who helps families through tragedy. "It's hard to even talk about or think about."
"We need to say it's unacceptable for anyone to hurt another human being in our community and if you do, you will be held accountable," said Pitre. "We're all in danger, we're all vulnerable, and we all have a role to play."
Pitre said it's important for friends and neighbors to reach out to those who might be victims of violence, and for victims to know abuse is not OK, and there's a hotline to call for help.
Saturday's violence happened one week after an Amber Alert was issued for the children of Amarah "Jerica" Banks. Jerica Banks, Camaria Banks, 4, and Zaniya Ivery, 5 were found dead a day later in a garage near 47th Street and Burleigh Street. Arzel Ivery, Sr., Banks' boyfriend and the father of her children, was arrested, and prosecutors said he confessed to the crime to his father in Tennessee. According to prosecutors, Ivery strangled his family during an argument with Banks over the January death of their 21-month-old son, which Banks reportedly blamed Ivery for.
The discovery of Banks and her children was made two days after prosecutors said Javaunte Jefferson set Savannah Bailey, the mother of his children, on fire -- pouring gasoline on her as she slept in her home near 8th Street and Messmer Street. Bailey ran outside and rolled in the snow in an effort to extinguish the fire as her children cried outside in -1° weather. She suffered severe, life-threatening burns to 60% of her body. According to a criminal complaint, Jefferson's 8-year-old brother told investigators Jefferson told his mother he killed Bailey because she wouldn't pay her taxes, and was buying other stuff. At last check, Bailey was being treated for life-threatening injuries at the hospital.
The month of February started with the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman outside Gene's Supper Club Feb. 1. Doctors delivered Annie Sandifer's baby boy, Lorenz, at the hospital. Prosecutors said Antion Haywood fired from a vehicle after spending time inside the club. Investigators used his scanned ID from the club to link him to the crime.
Other 2020 fatal shootings/violence involving women/children:
Boulden was fatally shot near 65th Street and Hampton Avenue as she rode in a vehicle.
Prosecutors said Orlando Cain opened fire, killing Boulden, and injuring his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend -- who was giving Boulden a ride.
Cain's ex had filed a restraining order against him, according to prosecutors.
Police said the woman was pronounced dead at the scene of a shooting near 28th Street and Concordia Avenue. An investigation was underway to determine what led to the violence.
Raven Coley, a mother of four children 8 and under, was fatally shot inside an apartment building near 23rd Street and Wells Street.
Prosecutors said Deonte Wilkins pulled the trigger and then told investigators a stranger broke into the apartment, shot Coley, and left. Investigators found no sign of forced entry, and a witness said she saw Wilkins holding a gun before hearing a shot.
5-year-old Jamal Anderson Jr. died in a shooting at the Mayfair Apartment Homes on Feb. 8.
His father, Jamal Anderson, was charged in connection with the shooting. Prosecutors said Anderson indicated two people forced their way into the apartment and shot the boy before fleeing.
However, investigators found a backpack buried in snow outside with a gun inside. When confronted with that evidence, prosecutors said Anderson changed his story, eventually admitting the gun was his.
Chatman was fatally shot near 21st Street and Wright Street, allegedly by Luke Dorsey. A second woman required emergency surgery at the hospital after the shooting.
Prosecutors said Dorsey told investigators he’s schizophrenic and people were “out to get him.”
A witness said they were watching TV when Dorsey began pacing and acting "paranoid" before walking into the dining room. The witness then heard gunshots. Prosecutors said part of an ecstasy pill was found on him after his arrest.
Alonzo Lamar Jr., known as AJ, died at a home near 25th Street at Atkinson Avenue after prosecutors said the child was left in the care of the mother's boyfriend, James Johnson, while she worked. When she got home, she found her son lifeless, and covered in bruises, along with human bite marks. It was determined he died from blunt force trauma.
Prosecutors said Johnson indicated the child fell off the bed in the basement, but investigators determined that would have been a minor fall. Johnson then admitted to biting the child, striking him in the head and punching him in the leg because he was "crying non-stop for over an hour."