MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) confirmed there was a shooting at Washington Park Wednesday night. 


What You Need To Know

  • MCSO said at 8:53 p.m. its officers were notified there was a fight at the northeast corner of Washington Park, near the corner of N 42nd and West Lloyd Streets. The fight involved about 50 young people and was near a playground
  • A MCSO detective arrived at the scene in plain clothes and saw a 17-year-old male suspect at the intersection of 42nd and Lloyd Streets, near the playground. The suspect was “firing what investigators believe was a fully automatic or fully automatic-converted firearm indiscriminately,” MCSO said. The suspect struck a 17-year-old male multiple times. The victim was pronounced dead at a hospital later that night
  • Another detective pursued the suspect and subsequently arrested him in an alleyway at gunpoint
  • Another gunshot victim, 15, walked into a hospital for treatment. Investigators believe he was a victim of the same incident

At 8:25 p.m., This is for the City (T4TC) event organizers ended their music event at Washington Park early. MCSO said event leaders cited concerns about “unruly behavior” and large groups of youth breaking out into multiple fights. The young people were unsupervised.

MCSO said even though the event ended, fights continued.

Clean up is underway at Washington Park (Spectrum News 1/Cody Taylor)

MCSO said at 8:53 p.m. its officers were notified there was a fight at the northeast corner of Washington Park, near the corner of N 42nd and West Lloyd Streets. The fight involved about 50 young people and was near a playground.

A MCSO detective arrived at the scene in plain clothes and saw a 17-year-old male suspect at the intersection of 42nd and Lloyd Streets, near the playground. The suspect was “firing what investigators believe was a fully automatic or fully automatic-converted firearm indiscriminately,” MCSO said.

The suspect struck a 17-year-old male multiple times.

The MCSO detective fired his weapon at the suspect. The suspect fled on foot and ran north between nearby houses, according to MCSO. Another detective pursued the suspect and subsequently arrested him in an alleyway at gunpoint.

MCSO said the suspect was not injured. The Milwaukee Fire Department medically cleared the suspect. MCSO said the suspect had been arrested by MCSO on May 20 on a charge of “felon in possession of a firearm.” He was later released from custody on a $750 cash bail, per MCSO.

MCSO said lifesaving measures were performed on the 17-year-old victim, who was then taken to a local hospital. The victim was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was from Milwaukee. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said it is still working to confirm the identity of the victim. 

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said, with this shooting, 13 children have been killed by gunfire this year in Milwaukee. At this time last year, 11 children had been killed by gunfire. 

“We should never get desensitized because you always feel, again, frustration. Urgency is intentionality on everyone’s part to engage our young to intercede, intervene in regards to access to firearms, but also having other activities to redirect them from the use of violence sciences and firearms,” said Milwaukee police chief Jeffrey Norman. 

MCSO said at 9:35 p.m., it was notified that a male gunshot victim had walked into a local hospital for treatment. Officials said they believe that victim, 15, was injured in the same shooting that occurred at Washington Park that night. The victim, who is from Milwaukee, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“At the end of the day it is about support, this event should have been supported from the jump to where we didnt have to cut corners or readjust and not be able to implement our full plan,” said Vaun Mayes, an event organizer and community activist. 

Vaun Mayes at the concert on Juneteenth at Washington Park. (Vaun Mayes)

MCSO said it recovered three weapons during the incident. MCSO said its deputies recovered another five firearms that night during the concert at Washington Park, bringing the total to eight weapons.

MCSO said the detective who “engaged” with the suspect has been placed on administrative leave, per policy. The detective has served with MCSO for 27 years.

Event organizer AJ McKenzie speaks during a press conference about the shooting. (Spectrum News 1/Cody Taylor)

“It is with a heavy heart that we address the tragic events that occurred shortly after our community event, we are deeply saddened by the passing of a young male and the hospitalization of another,” said event organizer AJ McKenzie.

MCSO said it is the lead investigator of the shooting. Charges will be referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sky Capriolo issued the following statement: 

“It’s devastating to wake up to the news that what was supposed to be an amazing celebration for the community turned into a deadly shooting involving teenagers. What words can I say that express the true depth of empathy I have for the families of all involved? One young life was lost, and his family is no doubt feeling the severe soul ache that comes with losing a loved one. The alleged shooter’s life might also be lost in the criminal justice system, and I’m sure his family is also in despair. We must do better as a community. It will take all of us to figure out a way out of this cycle of events.

“We cannot accept violence of any kind in our communities. Our Parks are there for all to enjoy. Washington Park is a gathering space. A place to play. A place to learn. A place to feel safe. It’s crushing when an incident like this happens. It affects every single member of our community. No one should be scared to visit a park.

“My colleague Supervisor Shawn Rolland and I are identifying the best group of people to dissect how this happened and come up with viable solutions to prevent more violence in our county. There are so many amazing community groups doing wonderful work in all of our neighborhoods. We all need to continue to support their efforts while finding ways to fund additional resources within our government departments.”

Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland issued the following statement: 

“My heart is broken for the family who lost their child to gun violence last night. People who solve problems with bullets instead of brains are cowards. It has to stop. Moreover, we need to guarantee that the events occurring in our county parks have the staffing, security and supplies they need to keep people safe – no excuses. When people come to our parks, they must feel safe and be safe. That’s why Supervisor Capriolo and I have called for a meeting with the senior leaders from Milwaukee County Parks, the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and the county court system. Were there enough security, officers, and event staff on site to keep people safe? Did the event grow larger than expected, and if so, did our teams plan accordingly? Should minors with felony gun charges receive a more thorough punishment or more restorative services, or both? These are a few of the many questions I hope to raise in the days to come. We must work together, map out the processes that led to this incident, look for gaps, and offer solutions to help make our parks safer in the future.”

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley took to social media Thursday afternoon.

This comes after a shooting involving teens on Juneteenth last year in Milwaukee. On June 19, 2023, six teenagers had been shot and injured in the 2900 block of North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee, hours after tens of thousands of people in Milwaukee initially came together to peacefully celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. Three were arrested in connection to the 2023 shooting.