MILWAUKEE — A police source has identified two people arrested in connection to the shooting of an off-duty Milwaukee police officer in the Third Ward on Thursday.
The shooting happened around 2 p.m. near the Shake Shack at Water and Buffalo. Police say suspects attempted to steal a car and rob a woman when an off-duty officer stepped in to stop them.
That's when one suspect shot the officer and then fled in a vehicle. That vehicle was later seen by officers in the 2700 block of West State Street. A police chase ensued and eventually ended near 30th and Chambers.
Two suspects were taken into custody at that time. The I-Team confirmed their identities as 18-year-old Dionta’e Hayes and a 17-year-old male. TMJ4 News is not naming the 17-year-old until he is officially charged.
Arrest records at Milwaukee Police Headquarters confirm both teens were arrested near the 2900 Block of Chambers Street, the same area where police say arrests were made.
Both teens have been charged with 1st degree party to a crime, resisting and obstructing. Neither has been charged with the shooting or subsequent crimes.
A source told TMJ4's I-Team a third teen may have been involved, but an arrest has not been made.
Public records show Hayes has at least one prior offense. In October of 2021, he was arrested after allegedly running from cops in a stolen vehicle. The criminal complaint says, Hayes ran from the vehicle and the officer chasing him was injured, breaking a bone. Hayes was captured and arrested, charged with felony resisting arrest; a charge that carries up to six years in prison.
Hayes also faces a misdemeanor offense for his involvement in the stolen car. Online court records show he was released on a $500 signature bond, meaning he didn't have to pay any money upfront. Part of his bail also required pretrial supervision. A case manager was assigned to monitor his conditions of release. This is considered the lowest level of monitoring.
The District Attorney's Office stands by the bail recommended by their office.
"The bail as it was set is consistent with what the risk assessment tool measures about Hayes and his lack of criminal background," The DA's Office said.
According to the DA's Office, the Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool indicated Hayes was a low risk factor. The I-Team has requested this assessment from the Courts, but has yet to receive a response.
Hayes is expected in court on those charges on Jan. 28.
There are no public court records for the 17-year-old. Any offenses committed as a minor would be sealed from public view.
Law Enforcement and Community Advocates say this is a startling reminder of the increase in youth being involved in criminal activity. While both sides agree, more needs to be done to hold these teens accountable, there are different views on what that looks like.
"When you talk about a juvenile justice system, accountability has to be there," Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner said. "There needs to be programs in place, whether that's group homes or the worst case offenses needing jail. But there has to be something there to hold juvenile offenders accountable so they know their actions have recourse. When that accountability is not there and they think this is a catch and release when they get caught, they become more embolden with criminal behavior they're doing."
"If accountability doesn't include understanding relational harm and understanding harm to oneself and others, any kind of punishment is going to fall short," Arnitta Holliman, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention said. "It's not to say that there shouldn't be consequences, it just means that accountability has to also include understanding relationship and influence and the impact that that has. If young people are only accountable to a system and there is no connection to the harm to an actual human being, then there's a significant piece of this process that's missing."
As of Friday, the officer is in stable condition.
Matthew Meyer, Area Director at Shake Shack, issued the following statement on Friday: “We are deeply troubled by the events at the Third Ward Shack yesterday. We wish the victim of this terrible act a full and speedy recovery. The safety of our team and guests is our top priority, and violence has no place in our Shacks. We’re working closely with the authorities as they investigate this incident.”
The Milwaukee Police Department also issued a statement Friday:
"The Milwaukee Police Department’s thoughts and prayers go out to our detective who is still in stable condition. We wish him a speedy recovery. The detective and his family are requesting that everyone respects their privacy.
We would like to thank the citizens who rendered aid to our detective as well as the professional care and assistance from the Milwaukee Fire Department and numerous law enforcement agencies who responded to this incident."
According to Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman on Thursday, 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 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."
The detective did return fire, but Chief Norman said at this time there is no indication that his gunfire struck anyone.
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.