Sheriff Clarke calls for better communication following Children's Hospital shooting

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says lack of communication could have led to disastrous consequences at Children's Hospital last Thursday.  He says instead of feeling lucky, all law enforcement agencies involved need to take steps to avoid the same thing from happening again.

\"You can't just walk away from this and say, 'Well, it's over,'\" Clarke said.

Sheriff Clarke still has more questions than answers.  It's why he called for an after-action critique in his department.

\"Let's learn the facts, what was the nature of the call,\" Clarke said.  \"And how did it go from that to becoming an 'active shooter?'\"

Milwaukee Police say they responded to Children's Hospital Thursday morning on reports of an armed suspect.  But Clarke says he heard as many as three conflicting reports that day ranging from shots fired to an active shooter. 

\"I'm telling you right now, that communication did not go on, that I know without after-action report.  But i want to figure out why didn't it go on?\"

Milwaukee Police chased and shot 22-year-old Ashanti Hendricks on the seventh floor of the hospital after he ran and showed he had a gun.  No one else was physically injured, but Clarke says the emotional scars need to be addressed too.

\"That's collateral damage,\" Clarke said.  \"That has to be talked about and it has to be dealt with.  We can't just pick up our equipment after a situation like that and then walk away leaving the ruins for the hospital to straighten out.\"

The after-action critique will look into three pieces of the incident: what happened, why it happened and what changes they'll make for the future.  The sheriff's office will talk with MPD, Children's Hospital staff and security and other agencies to figure that out.

\"We can't have, you know, 18 different ways with 18 different municipalities converging on an area and doing things their way,\" Clarke said.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says his Critical Incident Review board is conducting a review of its own.  Sheriff Clarke says these investigations aren't about placing blame, but rather fixing problems for the future.

\"If we don't do this, we're looking for the same thing to happen again, and I don't want that,\" Clarke said.

The Sheriff gave his department 60 days to finish its report, but he's willing to give more time if needed to get things right.

Read the full Ashanti Hendricks criminal complaint

Share this article: