Prosecutors: Man opened fire on family near 24th and Maple, killing father after reckless driving complaints

Michael Cornelius

A 20-year-old Milwaukee man faces three felony charges after prosecutors say he opened fire on a family driving near 24th Street and Maple Avenue on July 28 -- after that family complained about reckless driving in their neighborhood.

Michael Cornelius faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.

The shooting happened just before 10:30 p.m. on that Tuesday. Investigators found two people in a silver Nissan Armada with gunshot wounds. The male victim was struck 11 times and died at the scene. The front passenger suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, while a 3-year-old in a car seat in the back was not injured.

The woman who survived the shooting told investigators earlier that day, there were two vehicles being driven recklessly in her neighborhood -- one of them a blue minivan, later determined to have been a stolen Chrysler Voyager. At one point, the woman said her 3-year-old son was riding his bike and her parked vehicle was almost hit by the van that had fresh damage. She said her boyfriend and the boy's father yelled at the driver of the van, while armed with a firearm in his pants. She described the driver as a Hispanic male between the ages of 17-19, and said he held up a gun to the closed van window, before the van left, before returning later. The woman said everyone got ready to go inside to go get something to eat, and her boyfriend brought the firearm "just in case," holding it on his lap as they drove.

Shooting near 24th and Maple

Near 24th and Maple, the woman said they saw three people standing on the corner, and one looked like the driver of the van. She said her boyfriend asked them if they were the ones in the blue minivan, but none of them answered. One then began to shoot at them, the woman said, according to the complaint, before all three took off running. 

While police were wrapping up their interview with the woman, the complaint said the van was involved in a police pursuit and crash near 20th and Layton. The woman was shown a picture of the van involved in the crash and identified it as the van that was in her neighborhood prior to the shooting.

She also identified Michael Cornelius as the shooter, via a photo array, the complaint said. 

The complaint noted: "Investigation remains ongoing regarding this incident. This complaint is a summary for purposes of stating probable cause and does not does not contain all known information developed concerning this incident."

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