Water Street business owners urging city leaders to take charge after shootings, fights, large crowds in downtown Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE (CBS58)--Two weekends in a row, there's been mayhem in downtown Milwaukee on Water Street. CBS 58's Winnie Dortch has been covering the story since Saturday, June 12.
Fist fights, gun shots and large crowds are becoming too common for bar and restaurant owners. They're calling Water Street a war zone. The co-owner McGillycuddy's and Red Rock Saloon, Drew Duester, wrote a letter to 4th district alderman Robert Bauman about the ongoing chaos.
It reads in part: "In the last two weeks I have witnessed multiple brawls and beatings (one of which I feared the victim may have been beaten to death but thankfully he was not), use of illegal drugs and consumption of alcohol on the street, over a dozen hand guns, windows shot out of buildings , unspent ammunition rounds, burnouts, reckless driving in the street and harassment of customers.
Duester goes on to say: "I plead and implore you to grasp the severity of the situation and help your businesses, residents and human life in general. The initiatives that have been set forth thus far are not working. I am willing to do whatever is asked of us in an effort to reestablish Water Street.
A 31-year-old man was shot to death Saturday, June 13 near Knapp and Water Streets. Saturday, June 19, a 27-year-old woman accidentally shot herself during a fight.
CBS 58's Winnie Dortch tried talking to owners on camera but they did not want to comment. They say it's bad for business.
Alderman Bauman told our reporter off camera they have received a lot of frantic emails from business owners. He says they should speak out and demand action from police.
CBS 58 reached out to the Milwaukee Downtown Community Organization, other aldermen and the Office of Violence Prevention. We did not hear back. Businesses say they will close early to avoid the crowds. We have confirmed Police Chief Jeffrey Norman plans to visit Water Street during late hours.