Milwaukee man sentenced, shot at kids who threw snowballs at car

The Milwaukee man convicted of shooting at kids who threw snowballs at his car was sentenced Friday, Feb. 3 to 16 years in prison.

Last November, a Milwaukee County jury found William Carson guilty on all seven charges against – two counts of first-degree reckless injury and five counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety – him in connection with the 2020 incident.

"I'm asking you for leniency in my sentencing. I am asking for mercy in my sentencing," Carson said. "I miss my family. I miss my kids."

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In addition to prison, Carson was sentenced to 10 years of extended supervision. Judge Michael Hanrahan sentenced Carson to prison terms the run concurrent to the most serious charge. Prosecutors had asked for 25 years in prison. 

"There is this other side of you that is impulsive, reckless, violent – I think self-centered," said Hanrahan. 

Milwaukee County Courthouse

According to a criminal complaint, a group of kids was playing in the snow near 61st and Birch on Milwaukee's north side on Jan. 4, 2020 – throwing snowballs at passing cars.

The complaint states the driver of one of the cars that was hit turned his car around, got out of his car, and fired shots at the kids as they attempted to run away. The driver then got back in his car and drove away. That driver was later identified as Carson.

Of the seven children involved, the complaint states, three were struck by gunfire. One of the children was shot in the thigh, and another was hit in the arm. A third child had a bullet graze their jacket but was not injured.

Body camera video showed police officers taking care of one of the children was played in court during sentencing Friday, Feb. 3. The mother of one of the children also spoke at Carson's sentencing.

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"You really hurt us, and I really want you to pay for what you did to my family," said Monique Wilbourn. 

The victims wrote they have emotional and physical scars that still haunt them. Some even moved out of state after the shooting.

Carson was arrested by Oak Creek police days later after he fled from officers and was found to be driving under the influence. Police recovered a gun from his car, and testing revealed that it was "highly probable" that it was the same gun used in the Jan. 4 shooting.

The U.S. Department of Justice ran a firearm trace on the gun and found that Carson had purchased it 11 days prior to the shooting. In a statement to police, Carson said that he bought the gun for self-defense and that no one else ever had possession of it since he purchased it.