MILWAUKEE - At least 18 people were shot Wednesday, Sept. 30 in Milwaukee, seven at a funeral home near Fond du Lac Avenue and Townsend Street, with Milwaukee County on pace to hit more than 200 homicides in 2020. Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention and others are calling for increased support and action to address gun violence as investigators seek a motive in the funeral home shooting.
The shooting at Serenity Funeral Home happened during a funeral for one of Milwaukee County's 159 homicide victims in 2020.
"It's very sad to see people who are already grieving grieve more," said Corey Kirkwood.
Before the chaos, mourners planned to celebrate the life of a 26-year-old shot dead days earlier. They soon feared for their own lives.
Soon fearing for their own lives.
"It's tragic and it's heartbreaking," said Reggie Moore, director of the Office of Violence Prevention. "It should be disheartening, and it's disgusting to us as a city."
A day after the funeral home shooting, Moore called for the gun violence to end.
"We need to ensure people who are not supposed to have access to firearms do not have them," said Moore.
The medical examiner on Sept. 22 said the county is on pace to surpass 200 homicides in 2020. At least 18 people were shot in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"The more we can work collectively as a community to try to deescalate, and try and get ahead of things before they escalate, the better," said Moore.
Fatal shooting near 23rd Street and Center Street
Mesheka Wolfe said her friend was killed near 23rd Street and Center Street late Wednesday.
"It's senseless," said Wolfe. "It's worthless. What did you accomplish? Nothing. People don't understand it's consequences behind every action. For every action, there is a reaction, and there is a consequence."
17-year-old fatally shot near 7th and Ohio
Statement from Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention:
"Our hearts go out to the family members and friends impacted by the mass shooting outside of Serenity Funeral Home on Wednesday. No family in our community should have to suffer the grief and pain of gun violence—especially while mourning the loss of a loved one. Over 15 people have been shot in Milwaukee over the last 24 hours. Since February of this year, we have seen a 100% increase in homicides. In recent years, we have seen increasing levels of gun violence in the fall months. We cannot rely on cold weather to slow this deadly epidemic.
"In 2020 our 414 LIFE team has seen a 54% increase in referrals of gunshot victims to the program through our partnership with Froedtert Hospital. The team has conducted over 53 high-risk mediations this year which, could have resulted in a shooting or homicide. This level of gun violence requires all of us to do more to de-escalate tensions and resolve conflicts and disagreements without resorting to gun violence.
"In 2015, Milwaukee saw a 70% increase in homicides. Since that time, we expanded our efforts to address violence as a public health issue and increased investments in community-based solutions identified in the Blueprint for Peace. The uptick in violence in 2020 comes after a steady 4-year decline in non-fatal shootings and homicides from 2016-2019. Increased access to firearms paired with the stress, tension, and despair caused by COVID-19 is having an impact on violence in cities across the country. This year we have seen a sharp increase in suicides and mass shooting incidents that began with the Molson Coors shooting.
"We must treat every single shooting as a state of emergency and act with the urgency it deserves.
"Measures such as Universal Background Checks and Emergency Risk Protection Orders can have a profound effect on reducing suicides and domestic violence-related shootings and homicides. In addition, we call on state leaders to support measures to establish a statewide violence prevention fund to support community level, evidence-informed strategies proven to reduce gun violence and promote safe and healthy communities.
"Healing moves at the speed of justice, and far too many families are living in fear and anger because their assailant was never found or convicted. We strongly encourage people with information about a shooting or homicide to contact Milwaukee Crime Stoppers anonymously at 414-224-TIPS. A financial reward is offered for credible information leading to an arrest."
Free resources or support
- 414 LIFE (conflict mediation): 414-828-2006
- Milwaukee County 24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Line: 414-257-7222
- Milwaukee Child Mobile Crisis and Trauma Response Team (free support for children impacted by violence): 414-257-7621
- Domestic Violence Lifeline: 414-933-2722
- National Crisis Text Line: text HOPELINE to 741741 to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.
- Crime Stoppers Anonymous Tip Line: 414-224-TIPS (8477)