Milwaukee downtown alderman on shootings: 'Luck prevented fatalities'

Gunfire Friday, May 13 sent people running for their lives in downtown Milwaukee, and on Monday, city leaders urgently stood up to the violence, concerned it could hurt businesses, too.

The sound of sirens, paramedics and police followed the chaos and panic.

"Downtown has to be a safe place – period. End of discussion," said Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman.

Bauman represents the downtown district, where police say 21 people were hurt in three separate shootings Friday night, all in a matter of two hours near the Deer District.

"I can only speak for the Council at this point," said Bauman. "We’re trying to sort out what happened and why."

Scene after shooting outside Deer District on Friday, May 13.

Thousands ran for their lives after Friday’s Bucks game when three were shot near MLK and Highland. Two hours later, police said 17 people were shot in Milwaukee’s Water Street Bar District. The victims range in age from 15-47.
One other person was injured in another nearby shooting.

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"What do they tell hotel guests coming from out of town?" said Bauman. "'You can’t leave the hotel because there is gunfire taking place two blocks away.'"

Bauman said the mayor and police chief will take the lead in tackling this issue. Neither were available for interviews Monday, but Bauman says he would consider the idea of a defined perimeter with security checkpoints.

Shooting scene near Water and Juneau, Milwaukee

"I would say downtown is very safe except after 11 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday," said Bauman. "After 11 p.m. on a Friday and Saturday, there are issues."

"It’s not just about people having guns," said Reggie Jackson. "It’s about people being angry and having guns."

Jackson is a community activist, focusing on diversity and inclusion.  He called the shootings a wake-up call.

Shooting scene near Water and Juneau, Milwaukee

"For not only members of the community, but elected officials, the police department, members of metro Milwaukee," said Jackson. 

Both Jackson and Bauman said this cannot happen here again.

"Only luck prevented fatalities from taking place Friday night," said Bauman.