Alvin Cole shot by Officer Mensah 23 minutes after entering Mayfair

Twenty-three minutes passed after Alvin Cole, 17, entered Mayfair Mall on the evening of Feb. 2, before he was fatally shot by Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, according to files released by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

Officer Joseph Mensah, Alvin Cole

Officer Joseph Mensah, Alvin Cole

Chisholm on Wednesday announced the suspended officer will not face charges in Cole's death. In a 14-page letter laying out his rationale, the district attorney said evidence showed Cole fled from police carrying a stolen 9 mm handgun. He cited squad car audio evidence, along with testimony from Mensah and two fellow officers, that he said showed Cole had fired a shot while fleeing and refused commands to drop the gun.

Video and witness statements released after Chisholm's decision reveal what transpired in those 23 minutes.

Alvin Cole arrives at Mayfair Mall Feb. 2

Alvin Cole arrives at Mayfair Mall Feb. 2

At 5:43 p.m. on Feb. 2, security cameras captured a group entering Mayfair Mall -- Cole highlighted, carrying a bag.

Shortly after entering the mall, there's an argument between the group Cole is with and a man -- a portion of that incident posted to Facebook.

The man told police he was laughing with an acquaintance when he believes a person wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue fanny pack became upset, thinking they were laughing at him.

Alvin Cole

"He kept pulling it out of the fanny pack," the man said. "He never pointed it at me like, as if he was (going to) fire."

Confronted by Cole, the man told him to go home, as he's just a kid.

"And then when he flashed it again, I had seen the extended clip," the man said. "I'm like, 'Whoa! Like, what are you doing with this?'" the man said.

Alvin Cole

Seeing it was real, the man said he tried to grab it. A security guard then intervened. 

At roughly the same time, 911 calls started coming in.

Alvin Cole

Alvin Cole

Squad car video shows a group, including Cole, walking before running off. Police can be heard yelling, "Drop the gun," and, "Get on the (expletive) ground."

At 6:06 p.m., a gunshot is heard, and the video shows a muzzle flash. Chisholm wrote that all of the evidence supports that Cole shot himself in the arm while running.

Alvin Cole
Alvin Cole

Roughly nine seconds later, as officers yelled for Cole to drop the gun, the officers say he pointed it at them. That's when Mensah opened fire.

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said Wednesday an internal review of this incident is ongoing.

"Officer Mensah remains on administrative suspension pending ongoing proceedings with the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission," said Weber. "The timeline for conclusion of those proceedings is unknown at this time."

The gun that was found at the scene was reported stolen in October 2019. A spent shell was found in the gun, and the loaded extended magazine was found inside the bag Cole was carrying, Chisholm said, noting it's difficult if not impossible to distinguish between a loaded or unloaded gun while held in one's hand.

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