Man charged in the shooting death of Cathy King outside Walgreens on 27th and North

MILWAUKEE -- The man accused in the shooting death of Cathy King, 48, outside of Walgreens on 27th Street and North Avenue on Tuesday, May 5 was charged Monday, May 11 with first-degree intentional homicide. Willie Jones, 51, could face life in prison if convicted.

Willie Jones

According to a criminal complaint, King was being dropped off by her daughter-in-law at Walgreens, where she was a pharmacy technician. Prior to King exiting the car, the two had a brief conversation about King's ex-boyfriend, whom the driver knew as "Bill." King and Jones were allegedly in an "on-again, off-again relationship," according to another family member.

When King started to leave the vehicle, the driver noticed Jones standing behind a pillar and attempted to let King know. After King was fully out of the car, Jones started shooting her, according to the complaint.

King's daughter-in-law immediately drove to another part of the parking lot and called 911, according to the complaint.

As police arrived, prosecutors said Jones was seen standing over King's body, visibly agitated while holding a gun, and said, "Hey, you're going to have to (expletive) kill me."

Officers began telling Jones to drop the gun, but he continued to say, "You're going to have to shoot me," according to the complaint.

Cathy King

One officer saw Jones making a "pivoting or swiveling motion at the waist" and believed he was attempting to provoke the officer to shoot. The complaint said Jones fired a round at them, and officers returned fire.

Officers shot Jones, making him no longer an immediate threat, as the gun fell out of his hand and out of reach, according to the complaint.

Jones was then taken into custody and transported to a  hospital for treatment.

Life-saving measures were attempted, but King was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed she sustained four gunshot wounds, two to the head.

"In broad daylight, outside of a Walgreens," said Reggie Moore, director, Office of Violence Prevention. "It's impacted everyone who was out there."

The officers involved in this incident were identified as men, ages 38 and 35, with nine years of service and 15 years of service, respectively. They were placed on administrative duty per MPD policy.

A Walgreens spokeswoman issued this statement to FOX6 News:

"We are saddened to learn of the incident and tragic death of our team member outside of our store this afternoon. We will be providing counseling for our staff at the store.

We are fully cooperating with the Milwaukee police department and refer you to them for any further information. We are thankful to the first responders for their efforts. The store will remain closed while police conduct their investigation. Pharmacy patients who normally use this location can have their medications filled at our nearby stores located at 3522 W. Wisconsin Ave and 2826 N. Martin Luther King Dr."

Jones made his initial appearance in court Monday. Cash bond was set at $100,000, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 20.

Meanwhile, domestic violence victims' advocates noted 23 domestic violence related homicides in Milwaukee so far in 2020, compared to four at this same time in 2019.

"It's so unfortunate, and it's so concerning," said Karin Tyler with the Office of Violence Prevention. "We've seen an increase pre-COVID, and it's very concerning."

Tyler said the "Safer at Home" order in place amid the coronavirus pandemic has made things more complicated.

"We can't really get to victims like we need to," said Tyler. "We need to be prepared to really do some hard work."

CLICK HERE for a COVID-19 and domestic violence safety bulletin put together by the Sojourner Family Peace Center.

CLICK HERE for a list of resources for domestic violence victims put together by Milwaukee County officials.