8 years in prison for man who had stolen gun, machete, hatchet, ammunition; shot by UWM police

Irie Payne

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee man who was shot by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police on March 19, 2019 was sentenced to prison Tuesday, Feb. 25. The shooting happened after Irie Payne Jr. was found sleeping in a closed campus building. Police had contact with him in 2018 for the same circumstances.

Irie Payne Jr., 31 pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety, and one count of resisting an officer, causing substantial bodily harm.

Payne was sentenced to serve a total of eight years in prison, and eight years' extended supervision, with credit for 344 days' time served in the case filed in April 2019. He was ordered to have no contact with the UWM campus.

Because the criminal case against Payne was resolved, FOX6 News obtained new information through an open records request, but much of what we hoped to receive, including body camera footage of the interaction between officers and Payne, was denied.

The body camera video we received does show the moments officers responded to the Fine Arts Theater Building on March 19, 2019 after two of their own were involved in a shooting. Police responded after receiving a call regarding "a male found sleeping in the basement" of the building that was closed to the public. A sergeant and lieutenant responded, and Payne admitted he'd been sleeping in the building. The complaint said Payne was resistant about identifying himself initially, but he did provide an ID card.

Shots fired on UWM campus

While the lieutenant was speaking with Payne, the complaint said the sergeant learned Payne had a sheathed machete, a sheathed hatchet, a pack of zip ties, a paintball-style mask, and a box of ammunition in a backpack. He was asked whether he had a weapon, and ordered to remove his hands from his pockets twice, the complaint said. According to the complaint, Payne "began to run toward the loading dock area in an attempt to flee from the officers." The lieutenant attempted to grab his arm, but he continued to pull away. The lieutenant was able to latch onto him from behind, similar to a bear hug, as Payne was "actively trying to break" away. Payne then began reaching into his pocket with his right hand, "as if he was trying to retrieve something but it was stuck," the complaint said. The lieutenant believed he was reaching for a firearm.

Officer-involved shooting on UWM campus

The sergeant observed Payne retrieved a firearm with his right hand, with the muzzle pointed up near the officers' heads. "Fearing that Payne would use the firearm," the sergeant discharged his firearm, striking Payne in the face, shoulder, and chest. He fell to the ground. The firearm he was holding was knocked away from him by the lieutenant. While he was on the ground, Payne "continued to actively resist" the lieutenant. The sergeant retrieved the firearm Payne had been holding, and both officers gave Payne commands in an effort to gain control of him as he "continued to struggle and resist." The complaint said Payne was able to get up on his feet as the lieutenant fell off of him. Payne then began to walk toward the sergeant "despite multiple commands to stop." The sergeant then used a Taser on Payne, but he "continued to move toward the officers in an aggressive manner," the complaint said. Payne was taken to the ground after the Taser was deployed, and he was taken into custody.

Officer-involved shooting on UWM campus

Medical personnel were summoned to treat Payne and the officers. Both officers were taken to the hospital, where the lieutenant was diagnosed with a concussion. Payne was also taken to the hospital.

The complaint said the handgun recovered from Payne was reported stolen out of Wauwatosa in November 2018.

Classes weren't in session that day, but many students were still on campus for work and said the entire series of events left them uneasy.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office ruled the officer-involved shooting oa justifiable use of potentially deadly force in a letter to the UW-Milwaukee police chief in late May 2019.

Payne was also sentenced Tuesday in a separate case filed in December 2017. In October 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of fleeing or eluding an officer, and one count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety. He was sentenced to serve a total of six years and six months in prison, and three years' extended supervision, with credit for 46 days' time served.

In March 2019, Payne was charged with felony bail jumping for failing to report to court for a jury trial on March 18, 2019 -- the day prior to his incident with UWM police. That charge was dismissed in October 2019.