16 people shot, 2 fatally in less than 12 hours in Milwaukee
The violence Wednesday speaks to a larger trend of dramatically increasing homicide and non-fatal shooting rates across the city.
Data from the Milwaukee Police Department shows between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2020, there were 141 homicides, compared to 67 in the during the same period last year. That is an increase of 110 percent.
Non-fatal shootings increased almost 70 percent from this time last year. There were 535 non-fatal shootings between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2020, compared to 315 non-fatal shootings in 2019 during the same period.
On Thursday, CBS 58 spoke on one-on-one with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Jeffrey Norman, assistant chief of MPD's Criminal Investigation Bureau, about what they believe accounts for the trends and the solutions they'd like to see going forward.
"We had four years in a row of consecutive declines in our homicide rate and violent shootings, and now this year, it has been just a very very dramatic increase in both homicides and non-fatal shootings, which tells you that there are way too many illegal guns out on the streets," Barrett told CBS 58.
He called Wednesday a very "shocking" day, especially the shooting that injured seven people at Serenity Funeral Home.
"There are way too many people who are trying to solve their problems through violence, and it's just insane. That's the only word I can use to describe it. It's insane to see what's going on right now," Barrett said.
Norman said there are many factors that explain the increases in violent crime, including the pressures of staying at home, unemployment and not being able to enjoy normal summer activities.
"COVID-19 has really been a pretty challenging pandemic to us all. This is not only a citywide issue; it is a nationwide concern," he said.
Norman said he does believe most of the shootings are targeted. He said there have been increases in domestic violence and drug issues that also have accounted for the increases in shootings.
As for potential solutions, the assistant police chief named better conflict resolution as one.
"When angers are flaring, I think we all have a shared responsibility to try and redirect anger, find ways to say, 'OK, can you think about why is this the way you want to do it?'" he said.
Police are also looking into ways to spread positive messages in the community so they can encourage people not to resort to violence, according to Norman.
He also said days like Wednesday really strain MPD's resources, something Barrett mentioned, as well.
"We really need our community members to step up because our police department is doing what it can, but clearly the police cannot have enough personnel to handle all those problems. So it's a very challenging time. No question about it," Barrett said.
Going forward, the mayor said he'd like to see a stronger partnership with the state to increase resources.
"We know we have to invest in other areas, as well, whether it's housing or education, other non-violent solutions to problems. But it really starts with the individuals in our community, and we have to have more people stepping up and saying, 'This is crazy. We can't live like this right now,'" Barrett said.
The incidents Wednesday were as follows:
- 12:45 p.m., seven people were shot outside a funeral home near 42nd and Fond du Lac. The seven adult victims include three women -- ages 48, 26, and 24 -- and four men -- ages 29, 26, 24 and 20. Police are seeking an unknown suspect.
- 4:12 p.m., police say a 26-year-old woman and 22-year-old man were shot near 20th and Wright. Both sustained non-life threatening injuries. Police are seeking unknown suspects.
- 5:26 p.m., police say a 46-year-old woman was shot during an argument near 5th Place and Burnham. She suffered non-life threatening injuries. A 71-year-old man was arrested in connection to the shooting.
- 5:52 p.m., police say a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed near 7th and Ohio. The circumstances leading up to the shooting are under investigation and police are seeking unknown suspects.
- 7:07 p.m., police were called to the area near 31st and Sheridan, for a 62-year-old man who was shot. The victim is expected to survive and police are looking for the suspects.
- 8:24 p.m., police say two people were shot near Cedarburg Road and N. Green Bay Rd. Both are expected to survive. Police are looking for the suspects.
- 8:27 p.m., police were called to the area near 50th and Locust for a 26-year-old man who was shot. He is expected to be okay.
- 11:25 p.m., a person was fatally shot near 23rd and Clarke.
Anyone with any information on any of these shootings is asked to call the Milwaukee Police Department at 414-935-7360 or Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS or P3 Tips App.