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Off-duty Milwaukee police officer shot in Third Ward after intervening in attempted robbery

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Posted at 3:22 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 10:54:04-05

MILWAUKEE — An off-duty Milwaukee police officer was shot in the city's Third Ward Thursday afternoon after intervening in an attempted robbery.

The incident happened near the Shake Shack at Water and Buffalo around 2:00 p.m.

off duty officer shot
The incident happened near the Shake Shack at Water and Buffalo around 2:30 p.m.

According to Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman, a suspect unsuccessfully attempted to steal a car with three children inside.

"The suspect left the vehicle and began to leave the scene in another vehicle," a news release from Milwaukee police says. "The adult female driver of the vehicle located and picked up a cell phone around her vehicle and entered a nearby business. While inside the business, the suspect who attempted to steal the vehicle, approached the female and attempted to rob her."

An off-duty Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) detective intervened, said he was an officer, and attempted to detain the suspect. A struggle occurred and that is when the suspect fired multiple shots at the off-duty detective, Chief Norman said.

shake shack shooting
Shattered lower window at Shake Shack

Off-duty officer shot at Shake Shack
Off-duty officer shot at Shake Shack

The detective did return fire, but Chief Norman said at this time there is no indication that his gunfire struck anyone.

The suspect then fled in a vehicle, which was later detected by officers on the 2700 block of West State Street. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, and a pursuit ensued. It ended near 30th and Chambers.

Multiple suspects then fled on foot. Chief Norman said an 18-year-old man and 17-year-old male were then apprehended.

Off-duty officer shot at Shake Shack
Off-duty officer shot at Shake Shack

The detective involved is a 37-year-old man with seven years of service with MPD. Officials say he suffered life-threatening injuries, and is now in stable condition.

Criminal charges will be referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office in the upcoming days.

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson attended Thursday's press conference following the incident.

"Enough, enough. Folks in this city have had enough with the violence, particularly the deadly gun violence that we see plaguing this community year in and year out," Johnson said.

The Milwaukee Police Association responded to the incident, calling the detective's response "heroic."

“We are sickened by the acts of these criminals who have no regard for human life," President Andy Wagner said. "The detective was acting in a heroic manner to protect his community and we ask the community to pray for the detective's full recovery.”

Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas also responded, noting the city's increase in crime.

“Today is a stark reminder of the current state of our city," his statement said in part. "For far too long, we have seen crime and violence plague our neighborhoods and threaten our basic ways of life. In broad daylight, in the middle of the afternoon in the Third Ward, an off-duty Milwaukee Police detective broke up an attempted robbery. The detective, who happened to be on the scene, attempted to do his sworn duty to protect our community. Sadly, this altercation resulted in the detective being shot by the suspect during the commission of the crime. I offer my prayers and comfort to the detective and his family."

Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor called for an end to violence following the incident.

"We can no longer task force or study our way out of this. It’s time to do the things that we know work and prioritize them," her statement said in part. "We need to get illegal guns off the streets, strategically deploy resources and law enforcement, and coordinate a response across city departments. In short, we need to work on reducing crime like our lives, and the success of this city depends on it. Milwaukee is far more than the sum of these acts. Days like this demand that we remember who we are and what we love about this city. And then we do what’s necessary to protect it.”

And former Alderman Bob Donovan, who is running for mayor, said in a statement:

"Kathy and I are praying for the off-duty Milwaukee Police detective shot yesterday in the Third Ward. This individual lived up to the definition of HERO and I hope to one day shake his hand to thank him for his service, bravery, and sacrifice to our city's residents. I ask that you keep the officer, his family, friends, and co-workers in your prayers this evening."

Alderman Robert J. Bauman also issued a statement:

"Yesterday, one of our own Milwaukee police officers was the victim of a shooting in the Third Ward. The off-duty detective witnessed an attempted robbery, and heroically stepped in without hesitation to support a citizen in need.

Thankfully, no one was fatally harmed in this incident, and I wish the detective a full and speedy recovery. I also want to commend the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) for their rapid response to this incident that resulted in two suspects being apprehended.

I, like so many others across the city, am fed up with the violence. What happened yesterday in the Third Ward, and continues to happen daily elsewhere, is outrageous. No one should have to fear for their life or well-being while grabbing food, visiting a shop or just walking through a neighborhood.

This incident is just the latest of many incidents over the last two years involving robberies, auto thefts and carjackings in a neighborhood that has historically been considered very safe. It is past time for MPD to saturate the area and dedicate significantly greater resources in the Third Ward to ensure a much higher level of safety for those who live, work and visit the area."

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