Milwaukee Washington Park fatal shooting; 1 teen dead, 1 injured

One Milwaukee teen is dead, another injured, and a third is in custody for allegedly shooting both of them at Washington Park in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, June 19.

It happened after a Juneteenth festival and showcase, but organizers said the shooting wasn’t related to the event, and that it had already ended once bullets started flying on the other side of the park.

Police said two people were shot just before 9 p.m. One person, a 17-year-old, was shot multiple times and was taken to the hospital, where they later died from their wounds. The other person, a 15-year-old, later went to the hospital for non-fatal gunshot wounds.

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A detective responding to the scene shot at the suspect, another 17-year-old, during the incident. The suspect fled, but was later taken into custody.

A sea of people turned out for the day that was intended for peace.

"For the most part of the event, the event was going well," said community activist Vaun Mayes. "We wanted to promote peace and an educational aspect and a bunch of other aspects for Juneteenth."

Mayes helped coordinate the youth-targeted event that brought out a crowd in the thousands. He said, as expected, some came to cause trouble.

"They’re coming to find people they have issue with," Mayes said.

Vaun Mayes

After a couple of fights broke out, the show ended early. About a half hour later on the other side of the park, near 42nd and Lloyd, the gunshots started.

"Unfortunate isn't the right word," said Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Daniel Hughes. "It's infuriating."

Hughes said three guns were collected during the shooting, and five earlier. He also said the 17-year-old accused of the shooting was out on bail because of gun charges from May.

"We don't control the court system," Hughes said. "We only make the arrests on the streets." 

During Thursday’s cleanup, Mayes said the shooting struck a nerve. He said helping youth has to be a consistent community effort.

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"Didn’t sleep well last night," Mayes said. "Especially when you hear about a loss of life [...] any time you have any loss of life or any violence it just shows us we have more work to do."

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said this is the 13th child killed by gunfire in 2024 in the county.

Mayes said he is connecting with the family of the teen that was killed, and that he wants to host the event next year.


Milwaukee County Supervisor Sky Z. Capriolo

 "It's devastating to wake up to the news that what was supposed to be an amazing celebration for the community turned into a deadly shooting involving teenagers. What words can I say that express the true depth of empathy I have for the families of all involved? One young life was lost, and his family is no doubt feeling the severe soul ache that comes with losing a loved one. The alleged shooter's life might also be lost in the criminal justice system, and I'm sure his family is also in despair. We must do better as a community. It will take all of us to figure out a way out of this cycle of events. 

"We cannot accept violence of any kind in our communities. Our Parks are there for all to enjoy. Washington Park is a gathering space. A place to play. A place to learn. A place to feel safe. It's crushing when an incident like this happens. It affects every single member of our community. No one should be scared to visit a park. 

"My colleague Supervisor Shawn Rolland and I are identifying the best group of people to dissect how this happened and come up with viable solutions to prevent more violence in our county. There are so many amazing community groups doing wonderful work in all of our neighborhoods. We all need to continue to support their efforts while finding ways to fund additional resources within our government departments." 

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Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland

"My heart is broken for the family who lost their child to gun violence last night. People who solve problems with bullets instead of brains are cowards. It has to stop. Moreover, we need to guarantee that the events occurring in our county parks have the staffing, security and supplies they need to keep people safe - no excuses. When people come to our parks, they must feel safe and be safe. That’s why Supervisor Capriolo and I have called for a meeting with the senior leaders from Milwaukee County Parks, the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and the county court system. Were there enough security, officers, and event staff on site to keep people safe? Did the event grow larger than expected, and if so, did our teams plan accordingly? Should minors with felony gun charges receive a more thorough punishment or more restorative services, or both? These are a few of the many questions I hope to raise in the days to come. We must work together, map out the processes that led to this incident, look for gaps, and offer solutions to help make our parks safer in the future."