Popular bartender shot and killed in armed robbery attempt

Posted at 10:58 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 10:21:53-04

Dylan Steffen, 22, was shot and killed early Wednesday morning in what investigators believe was an attempted robbery.

"It was beautiful outside, so when we left a bar on 1st Street, we decided to walk back to my apartment," said Dylan's friend Zack DuBois. "We've walked that path many times before and never had any issues."

DuBois says they were walking on South 2nd Street, near Lapham Boulevard, when a man came up from behind and grabbed them.

"We had walked by him, but we didn't pay much attention because we were engrossed in conversation," DuBois said. "Then he came up behind us and tried to pull us into a parking lot and asked us to empty our pockets. We shoved him and sort of pulled away."

As they ran, the man pulled out a gun and fired. Dylan was hit by a bullet. The shooter took off. Zack called 911, and Dylan was rushed to Froedtert.

"His mother, brother and sister came to the hospital," DuBois said. "We stayed there the whole night. But he didn't make it. There was never a less deserving person for this to happen to. Someone who was so friendly, and so willing to put so much effort into everything he did, and into building relationships. It's just mind-boggling to think that someone worth that much could be gone that quickly."

Dylan was an active member of the local LGBT community. He was a bartender at This Is It on Milwaukee's Cathedral Square. Friends, patrons, and complete strangers gathered there Wednesday night to grieve.

"This is such a shock to all of us," said George Schneider, the owner of This Is It. "Everyone who knew Dylan loved him. He was the type of person who could talk to anybody. A genuinely kind person. He had a bright smile. I just knew he would fit in and be part of the family here."

Schneider hired Dylan. Now, he can't imagine what it will be like without him.

"For something so senseless to happen to him, and for somebody to take him from us like that, I don't even know how to begin to deal with that," Schneider said.

Everyone is trying to rally around Dylan's family. The staff at This Is It is sharing memories as well as collecting hand-written messages of support for them.

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is offering grief counseling.

Milwaukee police are reviewing surveillance video, and are trying to find the shooter.