Complaint: Milwaukee Gang Planned to Target, Shoot Police
A Milwaukee gang known as "Hell's Fire Squadron", planned on targeting and shooting police according to a criminal complaint obtained Wednesday.
The shooting was part of an elaborate plan to keep a Milwaukee man from going to jail.
According to the complaint, a group of at least 4 people planned on going to a February 11th court date for 18-year-old Noah Cockerham. Police say Cockerham and a juvenile male exchanged the following text message conversation two days before the court appearance.
Juvenile: I’ll make sure that everyone is ready for you on the 11th ok
NC: Alright bro
Juvenile: Hear me just saying this we are all going to have guns and we are going to make sure you get out unharmed and safe and there will be a gun waiting for you and a bullet proof vest for you
NC: I really appreciate it bro. I’m not trying to go to jail or prison
Juvenile: You are like a brother to me and I care about you plus we are all family
NC: True. We are. I’ll do anything for a brother trust me.
NC: How’s this going down?
Juvenile: Well we wait and see what happens and if you do have to go to jail we’ll be watching for you and that’s when we strike. We are going to cut off the police car, shoot the police, take all their guns and get you the [expletive] out of there.
NC: Sounds good. I’m gonna be right by your side. [expletive] finna’ get crazy.
Police did not learn about the plan until February 25th, when the juvenile's father discovered a "large amount of ammunition" hidden inside a mattress in the boy's room.
"At the same time, [Juvenile's father] turned over [juvenile's] iPad to police and gave them consent to go through that iPad because John was concerned about [juvenile] because he was acting and talking like a thug recently. Police took control of that iPad and then obtained a warrant to search through it.
Upon searching the iPad, officers located a number of concerning text message conversations regarding [juvenile's] efforts to prevent his friend Noah Cockerham from being taken into custody at his court appearance on February 11, 2016.
By that time, it would have been too late to prevent the act, but police say a timely arrest may have prevented tragedy.
On the morning of February 11th, the same day the plan was set to take place, the juvenile male was arrested by Wauwatosa Police on unrelated graffiti charges. He was held until February 12th, as Cockerham plead guilty to Recklessly Endangering Safety.
Police say the gang's leader, Ryan Sanders, had agreed to help with the escape.
The following conversation between Sanders and the juvenile details his involvement.
Juvenile: …I’m going to need help with Noah. He might be locked up and I already have the car for us as a get-away car and guns. I just need people to help me out.
RS: For him to escape?
Juvenile: Yep. There’s going to be a shooting though.
RS: I’m gonna make a call.
Juvenile: Thanks King
RS: When do you need backup?
Juvenile: On the 11th ready to go.
Sanders has been charged with Felony Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Intentional Homicide, and faces up to 60 years in prison.
Potential charges for the 15-year-old were not readily available.