MILWAUKEE - Darreon Parker-Bell, the man accused of opening fire inside Milwaukee Police District 5 on Friday, Feb. 25, appeared in court Tuesday, March 15.
The 23-year-old waived the preliminary hearing and was bound over for trial. He is due back in court for an arraignment on April 12.
Parker-Bell was charged March 1 with one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, and seven counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.
Investigators say he was upset and was trying to talk with police about his friend, Keishon Thomas, who died in police custody there two days prior.
According to the criminal complaint, Parker-Bell entered the District 5 police station just after 3 p.m. that Friday. Surveillance video shows he walked up to the counter in the lobby and spoke with an officer behind the counter. The complaint says Parker-Bell asked "for information related to the death of Keishon Thomas." When the officer told Parker-Bell he did not have nor could he share anything with him, the "defendant responded by pulling out from his right pants pocket a semi-automatic handgun" and fired one round into the ground, the complaint says.
The complaint indicates there were three civilians in the lobby of the police station at the time of the shooting – and "they immediately looked for places to hide within the lobby area."
The defendant then "fired another shot toward (the officer behind the counter), breaking the clear partition only inches from (the officer's) head. The defendant then fired a third shot toward the counter area," the complaint says. Another officer came from an area behind the counter and fired three shots toward the defendant – and Parker-Bell then exited the police station.
Scene of police shooting near MPD District 5
After leaving District 5, the defendant fled on foot into a nearby residential area. A number of officers pursued him "as he repeatedly brandished his firearm toward them. The defendant refused to follow numerous police commands to drop his gun, and officers subsequently shot him, took custody of him and sent him for emergency medical care," the complaint says.
In a statement to investigators, Parker-Bell "admitted to possessing the handgun and firing it up to three times in the lobby of the District 5 police station." The complaint says Parker-Bell "indicated that he was not well mentally as a result of hardships in his life, particularly the death that week of his close friend Keishon Thomas." The defendant told investigators "he intended to enter the police station armed with his handgun and once inside, became angry when he could not receive any information about Mr. Thomas' death. He admitted to repeatedly firing his gun, knowing a police officer was directly in front of him, and that other civilians were in the lobby and several staff members of the police department were working nearby. The defendant indicated he was hoping the police would return fire and end his life," the complaint says.
MPD is now receiving bids on installation of bulletproof glass at the counters inside police stations. They are also talking about using metal detectors at the doors, as well as door chimes and added surveillance. Right after the shooting, the police department offered staff inside the option of wearing bulletproof vets.