Milwaukee man charged for 6 murders; police discover selfie in basement where victims were found

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thirty-four-year-old Travis Birkley has been arrested in connection with six shooting deaths in January of 2022. 

Birkley is being held on one million dollars bail.

On Jan. 23, 2022, at approximately 3:21 p.m., two Milwaukee police officers arrived at 2505 N. 21st St. for an entry complaint. Officers approached the residence and heard a female screaming, “There’s two bodies down there.” 

The responding officers found the bodies of three people in the basement, and the bodies of three other victims upstairs throughout the house.

The complaint says all bodies found were already in rigor mortis.

Casings of 9mm shells were recovered throughout the scene, which the complaint says came from two different guns.

Investigators used the call, text and location records from 10 mobile phones found at the scene to determine and locate Birkley as a suspect.

On January 20th, Milwaukee Police attempted to respond to a call from a woman, describing something similar to what was later found at the scene at 2505 N. 21st St., at a fake address a few blocks away.

"The caller stated “please help me” and stated that she was shot in the head. The caller stated that she was currently at 2505 N. 24th street. She also stated that three other people had been shot," according to the criminal complaint.

They tracked that call to the 2800 block of North 29th street on Jan,. 25, where they found the person who made that call.

"[The caller] admitted to police that she was the person that made the phone call to police described above. [She] indicated that the defendant is the one that told her to call and what to say," according to the complaint.

Police said that's where they found Birkley as well, and later used cell phone tracking data to confirm he was near the scene of the crime on Jan. 20 when the murders took place.

MPD told CBS 58 News they had 4 persons of interest in custody near the end of January, on Feb. 4, they no longer had any suspects in custody.

According to police, witnesses said Birkley apparently worked as 'security' for drug deals that took place at the location where the bodies were found.

The complaint said one confidential witness told police Birkley had told him about the "botched robbery," later denied he had said that, then was recorded in a phone conversation talking about disposing the guns he said Birkley and his "cousin" used.

After arresting Birkley, police say they found a selfie on his phone taken in the basement where the victims were later found. 

"The defendant took a photo of himself in the basement where three dead bodies were later located," read the complaint, "the 'selfie' shows the defendant wearing a pair of what appears to be expensive eyeglasses. Witnesses have told police that the defendant did not wear glasses."

Birkley has been charged with six counts of Felony Murder – Armed Robbery (Party to a Crime). If convicted, he could face up to 330 years in prison.

Milwaukee police are asking for anyone with more information about what happened.

You can call the police, or to remain anonymous, the Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS and on their P3 Tips app.

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