Funeral and visitation services to be held Friday for Dontre Hamilton

Hamilton was shot and killed by Milwaukee police April 30 in Red Arrow Park

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by Shakara Robinson

MILWAUKEE -- After more than a week of pain and grief, family and loved ones will say their goodbyes to Dontre Hamilton, a homeless man shot and killed by Milwaukee police in Red Arrow Park.

Hamilton's family says he struggled with schizophrenia and paranoia, but there are still unanswered questions about his encounter with police that led to his death April 30.

"We don't believe Dontre died as a suspect," Hamilton's brother Nathaniel told CBS 58 News. "We believe Dontre died as a victim."

The family has retained legal counsel and hopes to gain more information.

The big question for the family surrounds the number of shots fired by police. By many witness accounts, between 6 and 10 shots were fired by one officer.

"It was overkill," Nathaniel said. "They shot him 8, 9 times, for what? We want to know why."

A Starbucks barista gave a written account of the incident, saying Hamilton was sleeping in the park and had been addressed by police twice that day after a co-worker called because workers felt "uncomfortable" with Hamilton's presence.  

Both times police left, saying Hamilton was doing nothing illegal, and that they should stop calling police to have him removed.

A third call was made around 3:30 p.m. and a different officer arrived. The barista said she heard yelling and saw Hamilton standing with the officer's wooden baton.

Milwaukee police say Hamilton hit the officer in the head with the baton, and the officer fired in self-defense.

The state Department of Justice is investigating, as part of a new law that requires an outside investigation into officer-involved deaths. 

Hamilton's family hopes more information will bring peace of mind.

"It's just so confusing," Nathaniel said. "We want answers. We want to find the truth out."

Services will be held at Holy Temple First Born Missionary Baptist Church near 18th and Stark Friday.

Visitation is at 10 a.m. and the funeral will follow at noon. 

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