Police shoot and kill armed suspect at Milwaukee County Transit Center

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by Lane Kimble
by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- A panicked scene hit downtown Milwaukee during the morning commute Monday. 

"People jumped out and had rifles on them and were running down the streets armed and I wasn't sure what to think," nearby worker Venus Tostevin said.

A man with a semi-automatic pistol tried to get into a man's car  stopped at a light on Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Memorial Drive around 7 a.m.  The  door was locked and the driver sped off.  The suspect fired a shot at the  car.
 

"The victim, very alertly, drove around the corner and dialed 9-1-1 to relay  what happened to him and then circled the block to try and ascertain where the  suspect had gone," Police Chief Ed Flynn said.

The suspect ran into the nearby intermodal station on Michigan avenue.   Police found him on the second floor.

"The suspect engaged in threatening behavior with that pistol where upon three  members of this agency fired upon him," Flynn said.  "The suspect was grievously injured."

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.  No one else was injured.

"I was worried at first and once I realized how many police were here, I figured we were good," Tostevin said.  "We'll just trust them to handle the craziness and stay inside where it's safe."

Paul Cedarburg also works nearby.  He's never seen so many police in this area at once.

"A guy with a gun and stuff, it just never happens down here," Cedarburg said.  "There's too many cops.  Too many city ambassadors.  There's just a lot of security down here."

Police are reviewing security footage as they investigate the incident.  Chief Flynn stresses this area is safe.

"There's nothing like this completely random attempt to take somebody's car in broad daylight at seven in the morning," Flynn said.  "It's just a highly unusual set of circumstances."

 Police have not yet released the suspect's name or description.  MPD is working with the medical examiner's office to identify him. 

Chief Flynn applauded the victim in the car who called police and stayed on scene to provide them with details about that suspect.  He says without that info, it's possible the suspect could have gotten away.

A local law enforcement instructor says officers don't want to use force, but sometimes are forced to.

"You don't have to give somebody else the opportunity to shoot at you first," Richard Cole said.  Cole teaches criminal justice and law enforcement classes at MATC.  He's also a former sheriff's deputy.  He teaches classes that prepares recruits for these situations. 

"Your shoot them in the arm. That doesn't work. If somebody is doing something that is happening now you need to stop what they're doing and that means central nervous system. You have to impeded their ability to cause that danger."

Cole says it's a matter of seconds in these situations.  And officers have the right to shoot if they fear death or injury to themselves or someone else.

"Guns work in one of two ways. Either you break things or blood pressure drops and then they stop doing whatever they're doing."

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