Tuesday Night Protests Turn Deadly in Wisconsin
Cellphone footage shared online shows a white man with a rifle walking past police after he was seen on video opening fire in the street
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Two people were shot to death and another was wounded during the third night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, and authorities Wednesday hunted for a possible vigilante seen on cellphone video opening fire in the middle of the street with a rifle.
The gunfire was reported just before midnight, and Sheriff David Beth said one victim was shot in the head and another in the chest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The third victim’s wounds were not believed to life-threatening.
According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the young white man responsible for some or all of the shootings walk past them with a semi-automatic rifle over his shoulder as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
Beth said that investigators had reviewed the footage and that he was confident a man would be arrested soon.
The sheriff told the Journal Sentinel that armed people had been patrolling the city’s streets in recent nights, but he did not know if the gunman was among them.
“They’re a militia,” Beth said. “They’re like a vigilante group.”
The FBI said it is assisting in the case.
A cellphone video of at least two of the shootings that were posted online shows a young man with a rifle jogging down the middle of a street as a crowd and some police officers follow him. Someone in the crowd can be heard asking, “What did he do?” and another person responds that the man had shot someone.
The man with the gun stumbles and falls, and as he is approached by people in the crowd, he fires three or four shots from a seated position, hitting at least two people, including one who falls over and another who stumbles away to cries of “Medic! Medic!”
A witness, Julio Rosas, 24, said that when the gunman stumbled and fell, “two people jumped onto him and there was a struggle for control of his rifle. At that point during the struggle, he just began to fire multiple rounds, and that dispersed people near him.”
“The rifle was being jerked around in all directions while it was being fired,” Rosas said.
In the cellphone footage, as the crowd scatters, the gunman stands up and continues walking down the street as police cars arrive. The man puts up his hands and walks toward the squad cars, with someone in the crowd yelling at police that the man had just shot someone, but several of the cars drive past him toward the people who had been shot.
Protester Devin Scott told the Chicago Tribune that he witnessed one of the shootings.
“We were all chanting ‘Black lives matter’ at the gas station and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, `‘That’s not fireworks,’” said Scott, 19. “And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him and then he started shooting again.”
Scott said he cradled a lifeless victim in his arms, and a woman started performing CPR, but “I don’t think he made it.”