Shots fired, three injured on Water Street during Milwaukee Bucks championship celebration
More than a dozen shots were fired at the intersection of Water Street and Juneau Avenue around 12:45 a.m. in the midst of the Milwaukee Bucks championship celebration early Wednesday morning.
Police said three people suffered injuries that were not life-threatening in two simultaneous shootings at 12:42 a.m.
Along the 200 block of East Juneau Avenue, a 19-year-old Wauwatosa woman was injured and an 18-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested, police said.
About a block away, on the 200 block of East Knapp Street, a 22-year-old Illinois man and a 32-year-old Milwaukee man were injured, police said. A 25-year-old Milwaukee man was taken into custody.
Seconds before the shooting, a large group of individuals could be seen running through a parking lot at East Juneau Avenue and Water Street.
Additional suspects are being sought in both incidents, and police did not release any details on the circumstances leading up to each incident.
Police estimated more than 100,000 people were in attendance in or around the Deer District on Tuesday and reported the crowd was "overwhelmingly positive and appropriate for such an exciting event," but noted two other incidents that led to arrests.
During the game and after the gates to Deer District were closed, around 8:30 p.m on the 400 block of West Highland Avenue, an individual pushed a metal gate, creating a breach in a barrier and knocking a 33-year-old officer to the ground. Police said several fans then ran into the grounds of the stadium and Deer District and trampled the officer in the process.
A 41-year-old Green Bay man was arrested. The officer suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
A half-hour later, on the same block, officers observed a man consuming alcohol and concealing a firearm. Police said the suspect, a 21-year-old South Milwaukee man, at one point tried to grab the firearm, but he was taken into custody by officers.
Citing security concerns, the Police Department on Wednesday declined to discuss its operational plans for Tuesday’s game, including the number of officers deployed downtown and how many came from outside agencies.
However, Gov. Tony Evers did mobilize 150 Wisconsin National Guard troops at the request of local officials to help with traffic control, Wisconsin National Guard spokesman Maj. Joe Trovato said.
Beth Weirick, the CEO of the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District, lauded city and public safety officials for their work in handling the crowds.
"I think the management of the enormous crowd... I think Milwaukee has proven we can host these kinds of events, this size of events, with grace and sophistication," she said.
Latest in string of violence near Water Street and downtown
The shootings come about three days after Diamond Arberry, 24, was shot and killed less than a mile south of Wednesday morning's shootings in Milwaukee's downtown.
Police said a large fight from inside a club spilled outside into the 200 block of East Michigan Street, where the fatal shooting occurred. A 30-year-old man was taken into custody.
It's the latest in what has turned into a string of violent incidents in the Water Street and downtown area.
On June 12, Kenneth Parker, 31, was shot and killed in the area, near North Water and East Knapp streets.
In early June, business owners expressed concern over brawls, shootings, reckless driving and seeing what appear to be minors consuming alcohol in the streets.
Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said at the time that the violence could be traced to large groups of young people between 18 and 21 — those who are old enough to wander the streets at night but not old enough to patronize a bar.
He said those groups are attracted to the Water Street area for its "public party" atmosphere. Business owners agreed that crowds appeared to include younger-looking people.
The response included an increased police presence, expanded no-parking and tow-away zones and additional fencing.
By early July, some business owners said the violence had died down, but the area has not remained incident-free. During July 4 celebrations, two officers were injured by the concussive blast of a pipe bomb thrown from a car.
Five men were charged July 12 in connection with the incident, with a sixth man later charged with supplying the explosives. One of the defendants in the case told investigators they had just been trying to scare revelers in the streets.
Residents have also expressed concern to police that the increased police presence downtown is only pushing unruly crowds into more residential areas of downtown and nearby Yankee Hill.
Evan Casey of the Now News Group contributed to this report.