MILWAUKEE - Twenty-one people were shot Friday night, May 13, near the same Milwaukee venues trying to host the 2024 Republican National Convention.
Milwaukee and Nashville are the two finalists to host the convention. FOX6 News asked if the violence would hurt Milwaukee's RNC pitch.
"We are confident that our convention-goers would be safe and secure, be it in Nashville or in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee," said Paris Dennard, RNC national spokesman. "That’s why we are down to these final two cities, because safety and security are part of the final determining factor of which city gets to have this convention."
That decision, Dennard said, could come soon, maybe this summer. City leaders sounded optimistic they could still win the convention.
"I don’t think it impacts our chances for the Republican National Convention, or any other convention that may decide to come to Milwaukee in the future," Mayor Cavalier Johnson said of the shootings. "This is a national problem, it’s not a Milwaukee problem. It’s a Wisconsin problem, it’s an American problem."
Scene of shooting near Deer District after Bucks game
As of Saturday, Metro Nashville police report 43 homicides this year. Milwaukee, a city with 100,000 fewer people, has reported 83.
Milwaukee business owner Omar Shaikh is part of the host committee trying to land the 2024 convention.
"A couple of members of the host committee already spoke with RNC delegates and they said that is absolutely not going deter their decision from coming here," he said. "As a matter of fact, I still think we are the front-runner."
VISIT Milwaukee's Peggy Williams-Smith said: "Leaders of the host committee have been in contact with the RNC. While they're saddened to hear of this weekend’s events, the RNC is confident in the city leaders who are working hard to address crime in Milwaukee. As far as we know, this won't play a role in their decision."
2024 Republican National Convention (RNC) Milwaukee
The federal government deems the Republican and Democratic national conventions a "National Special Security Event." The U.S. Secret Service is in charge of the entire security plan, assisted by local police and many federal agents.
"We do have a lot of work to do," said Shaikh. "I would tell you for RNC perspective, it’s going to be the safest place on earth."
Shooting scene near Water and Juneau, Milwaukee
For the people who live in the city, that safety can't come soon enough.
VISIT Milwaukee said it is not expecting a decision this month. The RNC is getting hotel and venue rates from both finalist cities – one of the steps before making a decision.
If Milwaukee wins, 45,000 people could pack into the Deer District. Those people, including delegates, media and others could end up pumping $200 million into the regional economy, spending money on things like hotels, restaurants and other services.