20 years later: Man shot by Milwaukee police chief in 1997 changes his life

Posted at 12:30 PM, Oct 30, 2018

Milwaukee's now-Police Chief Alfonso Morales shot a Milwaukee man more than 20 years ago. That man tells the I-Team he's thankful for it.

Being shot by Morales was life-changing for DeAndre Armour. They've built an unbreakable bond, forged by a bullet and an unlikely friendship.

The Chief and the church-goer met in June 1997. Then, a Milwaukee Police captain and a convicted criminal.

"Anything that could have went bad went bad," explained Morales.

The men aimed their guns at each other.

"We're trying to kill each other," Morales recalled.

At the time, undercover police were investigating complaints of drug dealing among suspected gang-members when they were shot at. 

"We were outnumbered and didn't know if we were outgunned," Morales said.

Police returned fire and 19-year-old Armor was hit.

"All I saw is all this blood all over me and I thought I was going to die that day," he remembered. 

Armour served 13 years, five days in prison for the shooting. He said he changed his life before returning to Milwaukee and becoming a brick-layer. He now also runs the men's home for God Touch Milwaukee.

"I'm trying to give back to a community I helped destroy," he explains.

It's a change built on something stronger than a bullet- a bible verse shared with him during his time behind bars.

"God showed you his love," Armour said. "I did not understand, I said do you not know that I shot men in front of churches? I gang banged inside of churches. I sold my own grandmother crack cocaine. I'm not the kind of person that you would give you life for. I'm the kind of person you throw away," Armour said.

That now-shared belief unites the men. 

"From what I've seen on this job and with my age, you tend to get closer to God," said Morales.

He believes that's who brought them together, with the help of a mutual friend who works with youth at the United Community Center.

"The person that I shot and put in prison is out and he's standing right behind me," recalled Morales of the day the men met once again. "and I turn around and I'm like 'oh my god' and DeAndre greets me with a hug," he said.

"I once hated authority and now here I was embracing authority," Armour said.

Morales said shooting Armour had sat in the back of his mind over the years.

"My life on this job and my early years always brought back that- is my turn coming?" he said.

Morales' turn did come-in a positive way. With a promotion to the highest level in Milwaukee's police force.

"To me, I look at it like we've both been raised up," reflected Armour.

Raised up and looking at different people from who they once knew.

"I don't see the person I saw 21 years ago," said Morales to Armour. "I see a person who is a success, a person who again that I would see next to me at church, a person that I would see kids in the same school, he finished.

"I no longer see a person that I once hated, that I had all this animosity for," returned Armour. "I see someone who's really trying to show and prove that he himself has changed."