"We've seen it all:" Man trying to repossess car, ends up getting shot

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A repo man was shot after things got heated during an altercation on the city's south side. The car owner defends the suspect's actions. She claims her son was defending himself on their property and believes the incident could have been avoided if the repo man answered one simple question.

It was about 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, November 13th, when Kathy Cruz says she and her son were blindsided at her home on S. 5th Place.

"A man came up in our driveway and hooked up with car to his tow truck and we asked him for paperwork and he wouldn't produce it," said Cruz.

Cruz claims the man attempted to repossess her car without following protocol or even identifying himself.

"If they can show me the paperwork, they are not going to get the car," said Cruz.

The situation escalated when the verbal argument turned physical.

"He's the one who hit my son first and my son reacted," Cruz said.

Cruz says fearing for her son's safety, his girlfriend went inside and got his gun.

"She said the man kept coming at him, so she gave my son the gun and he hit him with it. After the man hit him first and it went off," said Cruz.

According to police, Cruz's 37-year-old son fired the handgun and the victim suffered a graze wound.

"I was like, aw man, not another repo guy out there getting shot, that was sad," said Brian Reinke, Manager at B&B Automotive Towing & Recovery.

Reinke knows the challenges of the job first-hand, saying it's a risky business.

"You never know who you are going to see or if they are going to shoot or whatever. We've seen it all," said Reinke.

FOX6 News tried to talk to the recovery business involved in Thursday's incident but could not get a comment. But Reinke, a third party, says the protocol followed is pretty universal.

"If they ask to see paperwork you have to show them the order form that you have to repossess the vehicle," Reinke said.

Reinke's company does about 30 repo's a week and says owners are often confrontational -- but workers shouldn't push it.

"Just go back another time and look for the vehicle. And see they might hide it but it will come out eventually," said Reinke.

The victim took himself to the hospital and is expected to be okay.

The 37-year-old suspect was arrested. The District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case.