Somers House Tavern shooting follows trend of community violence, mass shootings

NOW: Somers House Tavern shooting follows trend of community violence, mass shootings

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) – County leaders expressed concern about the shooting at Somers House Tavern being part of a larger trend both with increased community violence in recent years as well as mass shootings nationally.

“When I started as a deputy sheriff in 1982, if we had one homicide every other year, that was huge,” Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said in a news conference on Monday, April 19.

The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of April 18 and left three men dead and three others wounded. The suspect I the case, Rakayo A. Vinson, is set to appear in court on Wednesday, April 21.

Beth described Kenosha County as an island of relatively low violence compared to regional neighbors of Milwaukee, Racine, Chicago and its northern suburbs. He said he believes that description is changing.

“It seems like we’re becoming more like a northern suburb of Chicago a lot of those problems are moving up here,” Beth said.

The shooting also added to a list of recent mass shootings across the United States.

Village of Somers Fire Department Chief Carson Wilkinson said his and other fire and EMT crews across the state have prepared for such events in recent years. That training kicked in when they received the call about the shooting at Somers House.

“We came up with a countywide plan for an active shooter, we’ve trained on that plan,” Wilkinson told CBS 58, who recounted what was going through his thoughts as he traveled to the scene. “I was going through that plan in my mind. I was also concerned for the safety of my staff.”

Some of that equipment included personal protection equipment for crew members including helmets and vests.

Even with the preparedness, the department had never responded to an incident like this weekend.

“I’ve been in this my whole life basically, first time I’ve responded to something like this,” Wilkinson said. “First time Somers Fire Department has responded to something like this.”

The shooting is also pushing other community leaders to speak out.

“We’ve been watching over the last several months this crescendo of mass shootings happening all over our country, and sadly we knew it was just a matter of time before it impacted us here,” Darryl Morin of Forward Latino and the 80 Percent Coalition told CBS 58.

The coalition is a group of organizations seeking legislation on gun reform. At Noon on Wednesday, April 21, the group will hold an event at Alford Park North in Kenosha they hope highlights the need for change around gun violence.

“We’re going to be gathering to remember, to heal and to act,” Morin said. “People are, to coin a phrase, sick and tired of feeling sick and tired of gun violence.”

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