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Riverwest neighborhood remembers homicide victim known for strong political, religious views

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tributes continue to pour in for a man killed in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

Family and friends identified 60-year-old Bernell Trammell as the man shot and killed Thursday, July 23 near Wright and Bremen.

Flowers and artwork now cover the scene, which is right outside the business Trammell owned, Expressions Journal Publications. On Thursday and Friday, dozens of community members stopped by the memorial to remember him.

"This is just how I pay respect," said a local artist who goes by the name Wisdom Prometheus Grey. "I've been asking people to please bring candles. Please whatever you can do."

Milwaukee police say he was shot and killed around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. They're still investigating what led up to the shooting and they are still looking for suspects.

Many community members knew Trammell for his political signs and Rastafari religious views. Community members said Trammell was an independent who supported candidates on both sides of the aisle, including President Donald Trump in the presidential race and Sen. Lena Taylor in the Milwaukee mayoral race.

John Self said he had many philosophical conversations with Trammell over the years inside his business.

"He believed in democracy. He believed in his right to free speech," Self said. "I don't think he ever once tried to convert you or change you. He would just tell you what he thought, he would listen to what you had to think, and then he would respect that."

Milwaukee police said they are still investigating the motive for the shooting.

Patricia Holland, who lives near the scene, was likely one of the last people to see Trammell alive.

"He was a happy person. He always talked to everybody that came by basically, say hi and speak to them," Holland said.

Holland said she saw Trammell Thursday and had just gotten home when she heard gunshots, meaning she was likely one of the last people to see Trammell alive.

"I seen the ambulance and stuff -- the police flying by my house, and I just said, 'Oh my god,'" Holland said. "What happened to him, I mean -- it shouldn't happen to anyone. It's a senseless death."

Community members agree that Trammell was part of what makes the Riverwest neighborhood the diverse community it is.

"This is a community that there's a lot of diversity, a lot of different thoughts, a lot of different ideas, and I think that's what he represented about the community: that you could express yourself and you could express your opinions, and that's why he felt comfortable here I'm sure," Self said.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact the Milwaukee Police Department at 414-935-7360 or Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS.

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