Downtown Milwaukee will be under a limited curfew for the rest of the weekend and a massive watch party scheduled for Sunday has been called off after 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near an entertainment district where thousands They had gathered for the NBA playoff game.
17 people were injured in a shootout that took place on Friday night, when two groups opened fire on each other. In another firing, three people were injured and in the third one person got injured. All the firepower came from the arena where the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals. All the victims are expected to survive.
“How do people think they can shoot on a public street or in an entertainment district, whether there are police or not?” Assistant Police Chief Nicole Waldner asked at a news conference on Saturday.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the city has imposed a curfew for the downtown area, requiring everyone aged 20 or younger to be out on the street by 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday – when the Bucks decider in Game 7. Play in Boston.
Meanwhile, a Game 7 outdoor watch party that was planned at the Deer District recreation area just outside the arena was cancelled. Johnson’s spokesman Jeff Fleming said in a text that the team made the decision to cancel the event “after consultation with the city and public safety agencies.”
The watch party for Sunday afternoon’s game will likely have drawn more than 10,000 people. The Bucks said 11,000 attended the Game 6 watch party, even as more than 19,000 others were inside the arena.
“The shooting in the city of Milwaukee last night was horrific and we condemn this devastating violence,” the Bucks said in a statement. It said the Watch Party was closed “to allow law enforcement to dedicate necessary resources to the continued investigation of last night’s events,” but noted that Deer District businesses would remain open.
Johnson said those responsible for the shootings would be held accountable.
“We cannot have it in this city, nor in this state, nor anywhere else in this country,” he said.
Waldner said three people, including a 16-year-old girl, were injured in the first shooting at 9:10 p.m., about five minutes before the end of the game. One person was taken into custody.
The shooting took place outside the boundaries of the Deere District, a 30-acre entertainment district that was developed after the Fisher Forum opened in 2018. It has many bars and restaurants where large crowds often gather to watch major sporting events or participate in festivals.
Bill Reinman, a parking attendant adjacent to the Dear District, said he heard gunshots, then saw several people running.
“It sounded like six to eight bullets,” he said. “Was close.”
One person was injured in the second firing at 10:30 pm. No arrests were made, Waldner said.
Dozens of shots were fired in the third shooting at 11:09 pm, injuring 17 people. Waldner said five of the wounded were armed and among 10 people taken into custody. Police have yet to determine who set it up.
“Despite an incredible amount of police presence, some groups exchanged gunfire,” Waldner said. “District 1 officials reported shots fired from the back of his head.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that broken glasses, empty wine bottles, single shoes and two bloody shirts were scattered on the streets after the chaotic incident.
Jake O’Kane, 25, of Appleton, Wisconsin, attends a playoff game with his girlfriend. Afterwards, he witnessed the commotion from the first shoot, then moved a few blocks away and spent a few hours at the bar before deciding to ride Lyft to a restaurant.
O’Kane said they waited for their ride outside “then all of a sudden you hear ‘pop, pop, pop’ behind you.”
O’Kane said he listened to about 20 shots before he could capture 22 more videos. He estimated that the bullets were from a few hundred yards away from his group.
When the driver pulled over in less than two minutes, “I said, bro – drive!” O’Kane said.
Milwaukee was one of several US cities with a record number of homicides in 2021, most involving guns. The list also included Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and others.
Experts believe that tension and pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the violence. Johnson blamed easy access to the guns.
“A central part of the problem is the fact that individuals easily get their hands on guns,” Johnson said. “It’s not strictly a Milwaukee problem. Across the country we’ve seen an increase in both fatal and non-lethal shootings.”
Of Milwaukee’s 193 murders in 2021, 180 were by firearms. According to police figures, another 873 people were injured in the firing.
This year the pace is even worse. Milwaukee has already recorded 77 homicides, a 40% increase from the same time in 2021. The number of non-fatal shootings this year is 264, two fewer than a year ago.
O’Kane said he worries about where Milwaukee is headed.
“If we win are we going to go to another game again? Yes, I’m still going to Bucks games. But are we going to party outside later? Hell no, no chance. ,
This story has been updated to correct the age of one of those people who has turned 30, not 30.