Milwaukee immigration attorney gunned down 'over a traffic mishap'

Police say a 54-year-old Milwaukee man was fatally shot by a bicyclist near Brady and Holton on Tuesday evening, Sept. 22. The victim's sister identified him as Jason Cleereman.

Jason Cleereman

Jason Cleereman

A well-known Milwaukee immigration attorney was fatally shot Tuesday night, Sept. 22 near Brady Street and Holton Street when police said a bicyclist opened fire during an altercation around 8 p.m. The medical examiner identified him as Jason Cleereman, 54. His sister said he and his wife were headed home when the argument happened on the Holton Street Bridge. 

Cleereman's family is now mourning the loss of a loving father who went out of his way to care for others.

Fewer than 24 hours after her brother was shot and killed, words were hard to come by for Vanessa Maldonado.

Jason Cleereman

Jason Cleereman

"We're all just really shocked and confused," said Maldonado. "I have so much pain for my sister-in-law, her children, my niece and my nephew. I mean, that has to be the most painful thing to be going through right now."

Cleereman was an Army veteran turned immigration lawyer, carrying with him a reputation of caring for those around him.

"My brother was a good man," said Maldonado. "Very big heart. Helped a lot of people."

Fatal shooting near Brady and Holton, Milwaukee

Fatal shooting near Brady and Holton, Milwaukee

The kind soul was taken far too soon following an argument and shooting Tuesday night. Surveillance cameras at a nearby bar appeared to capture audio of the gunfire, causing customers on the patio to turn and look. 

Concern was shared by those working nearby, including Derrick Brown, who was first shocked by the news.

"Been here 13 years, and this is the first time I've heard about a shooting that actually happened over here," he said.

Hours before Cleereman was fatally shot, the medical examiner tweeted that Milwaukee County is on pace to hit more than 200 homicides in 2020, which would be a record. Brown said city leaders must continue to stress non-violent methods of resolving conflict.

"Over a traffic mishap," said Brown. "Not a reason to pull out a gun and shoot somebody, but at the end of the day, I'm kind of not surprised that something like that is happening more and more in this city."

Fatal shooting near Brady and Holton, Milwaukee

Fatal shooting near Brady and Holton, Milwaukee

Milwaukee police are looking for the shooter who took Cleereman's life.

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Milwaukee alders José Pérez, Nik Kovac and JoCasta Zamarripa issued this statement:

"Last night near the intersection of Brady and Van Buren on the city’s east side, Jason Cleereman - a dedicated husband, father, and advocate for Milwaukee - was the victim of a senseless shooting. We can only imagine what his family is going through in this difficult time, and we send them our best as they grieve.   

"Anyone who met Jason instantly knew how much he cared about his family, friends and the community. His law firm worked to support families through the immigration process, and he was never afraid to speak up on their behalf.

"This loss will be felt particularly hard on the near Southside where Jason was an active resident always working to better the area for others. He was an organizer of the Walker Square Farmers Market, as well as a board member for the Southside Organizing Center, and leader within the Walker Square Neighborhood Association. He worked tirelessly in service of others, left a positive impact on those around him, and will surely be missed."

 Anyone with any information is asked to contact Milwaukee police at 414-935-7360 or Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS or P3 Tips App. 

Man fatally shot near Brady and Holton

Police said no arrests have been made.