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Family identifies Darreon Parker-Bell as District 5 gunman

Darreon Parker-Bell
Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 14:04:55-05

MILWAUKEE — The family of Milwaukee resident Darreon Parker-Bell has confirmed that he is the man who went into Milwaukee Police's District 5 building last Friday and opened fire.

Parker-Bell's mother, Lisa Bell, told TMJ4 News that her son was not in the right state of mind following the death of his close friend, Keishon Thomas.

Thomas died in police custody, at District 5, last Wednesday. Waukesha Police are investigating his death.

Ms. Bell said that her son, distraught by the death of his friend and the recent deaths of family members, likely went into the district station expecting to be killed by the police.

Parker-Bell's uncle, Jr., said he's thankful that no officers were injured during the shooting and that his nephew's actions were wrong. Jr., like Ms. Bell, also believes that Parker-Bell did not expect to leave the police station alive.

"It is a blessing he didn’t hit the police," said Jr. "Cause you know that would’ve made matters worse. And we are happy nobody got injured. And he's [Darreon] alive, that’s a blessing."

Jr. said his nephew had been upset that, in his belief, police had not been providing information quickly enough about the death of Thomas.

"He didn’t really want to live anymore. We were telling him that we was going to get answers [about Thomas' death]," said Jr. "But when you messed up in the mind it’s hard."

According to Waukesha Police, the outside agency investigating Thomas' death, they're still waiting for toxicology reports from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office before they release the results of their investigation. Waukesha Police said it sometimes takes six to eight weeks to receive those results.

According to Parker-Bell's family, he's in stable condition in the hospital, though they haven't been able to speak with him.

It's not fully clear what happened before the shooting at District 5 last Friday.

According to Ms. Bell, her son had been sent home early from work.

That morning, about five hours before the shooting, Parker-Bell posted a comment on his Facebook page that read "Count down start now." The comment was posted above a news article about the death of his friend, Keishon Thomas.

MPD District 5
Outside MPD's District 5

Police Chief Jeffery Norman said at a press briefing last Friday that around 3 p.m., the suspect entered the District 5 headquarters at MLK Drive and Locust. Community members were in the lobby when he entered, the chief said.

That's when police say the suspect opened fire at MPD staff. A Milwaukee police officer returned fire, and the suspect ran away, the chief said.

Officers followed the suspect to the 2900 block of N 6th Street, where multiple officers fired and hit the suspect several times.

Chief Norman said the 23-year-old Milwaukee man is now in the hospital with non fatal injuries. No one else was injured during the incident. The firearm was recovered.

The officers are now on administrative duty and West Allis police are investigating since it is an officer-involved shooting. The officers are identified as follows:

  • 41-year-old male officer with over 4 years of service, 
  • 37-year-old male officer with over 14 years of service, 
  • 37-year-old male officer with over 10 years of service,  
  • 35-year-old male officer with over four years of service,  
  • 33-year-old male officer with over seven years of service,  
  • 32-year-old male officer with over 5 years of service and, 
  • 27-year-old male officer with over 9 years of service.  

In response to the shooting at District 5, the Milwaukee Police Association said officers are stunned that escalating violence against police would come right into one of their own buildings.

“They’re shocked. They’re angry," said Andrew Wagner, the president of the association.

“No officer wants to fire their weapon, ever. We had a number of officers that did [on Friday] and that’s traumatic as well," he said.

There has been a jump in violence against police this year in Milwaukee.

Last month, two Milwaukee Police officers and a Milwaukee County Sheriff's deputy were shot multiple times in separate incidents. All three survived.

"We keep encouraging them that we know most of the community has their back," said Wagner. "Poll after poll shows that; that they [the public] respect law enforcement and that they’re there for them.”

In 2019, Parker-Bell was convicted for endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon after an 8-year-old was shot near 58th and Helena.

He allegedly told police he was cleaning his gun and it accidentally went off, according to a criminal complaint. The child was taken to Children's Wisconsin for non-life threatening injuries.

Parker-bell has no other prior convictions.

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