Third Ward shooting: Officer commended, bail reform discussed

An off-duty Milwaukee police detective was shot and injured Thursday after stepping in to stop an armed robbery in the city's Historic Third Ward.

Friday, one state lawmaker who is calling for bail reform said the shooting highlights why he wants to see a change. One of the suspects was out on bond for another crime.

The 37-year-old detective was listed in stable condition after suffering life-threatening injuries in Thursday's shooting.

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The community and colleagues are commending him for his actions. Some have hailed the detective as a hero for stepping in while off-duty.

"He really took his call and his oath to duty to heart," said Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner. "We say that we’re off duty, but in our minds and in our hearts, we’re never off duty."

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Off-duty Milwaukee police officer shot trying to stop robbery in Third Ward

Wagner said the detective's actions exemplified the bravery of the police department. A struggle began as the 7-year MPD veteran tried to intervene and was shot.

The shooting happened in Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman's district. The traditionally low-crime downtown and Historic Third Ward has seen a recent spike in crime. The shooting and robbery attempt, which unfolded inside the Shake Shack at the corner of Water and Buffalo, is the latest.

"Shock and then outrage, and now it’s into the anger mode," Bauman said. "I’m asking MPD to start stepping up their game and start flooding the Third Ward neighborhood."

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Suspects' vehicle, reported stolen, towed away from crash scene near 29th and Burleigh after police pursuit and Third Ward off-duty officer-involved shooting

Two suspects, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy, were arrested in connection to the shooting after a police chase. The car they fled in had been reported stolen out of Menomonee Falls.

The 18-year-old was out on a $500 signature bond for an October crime. In that October crime, investigators said the suspect was driving a stolen Kia and resisted arrest.

Thoughts now turn to the detective's continued recovery.

"We’re just asking for your thoughts and your prayers that his recovery goes quickly and smoothly, and he’s able to return to our police department," said Wagner.

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State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and State. Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) released a statement Friday, saying the case highlights the need for bail reform. They released the following joint statement:

"On October 21, 2021, Dionta’e Hayes, one of two suspects in the attempted murder of an off-duty Milwaukee Police Officer yesterday, was charged with Operating a Vehicle Without Consent (a class A misdemeanor) and Resisting an Officer causing Substantial Bodily Harm (a Class H Felony) in Milwaukee County. The very next day, he was released on a $500 signature bond.

"We saw it last Christmas in Waukesha. We saw it yesterday in broad daylight in Milwaukee. We’ve seen it each of the last 3 years in Milwaukee and surrounding communities. John Chisholm’s catch-and-release, no bail or low bail policy, is making us all less safe.

"People need to feel safe in their community. Without that, they don’t have much of a life, or a neighborhood. Chisholm’s social justice cause has made neighborhoods in Milwaukee County and southeastern Wisconsin less safe. It has to stop."

Senator Wanggaard added:

"On Thursday, I will hold a hearing on 4 proposals reforming bail in Wisconsin. I encourage John Chisholm to come and testify. He can give his thoughts on improving bail in Wisconsin, because whatever he’s doing isn’t working."

The bills that will be heard in the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Thursday are: Senate Joint Resolution 82, which allows judges to consider criminal history, dangerousness to the community and other factors when setting cash bail, Senate Bill 856, which prohibits release without cash bail for individuals with previous felony convictions, Senate Bill 857, requiring the Attorney General to collect data on the use of appearance bonds, and Senate Bill 858, which sets minimums bails for defendants previously charged with bail jumping.

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