Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman speaks to reporters after six teenagers were shot Monday following the city’s Juneteenth celebrations. Norman said the gunfire appears to have started with a fight. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Police Department
June 19 (UPI) — Six teenagers were shot as Juneteenth celebrations in Wisconsin wrapped up Monday, according to police who said the gunfire appears to have started with a fight.
Four females, ages 14, 16, 17 and 18, and two males, ages 17 and 19, were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries after the shooting near downtown Milwaukee. Officers took the 17-year-old male into custody and are currently searching for additional suspects, Milwaukee Police said in a statement.
Investigators are still looking into what may have led to the fight and the shooting.
“Milwaukee, what’s going on with our children?” Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman told reporters Monday.
“Parents, guardians, elders, we need to engage and ensure that this violence that our children are bringing to these streets cease. No handgun, no weapon of destruction should be in the hands of our young ones. It’s important that all of us do something,” Norman said.
Monday’s shooting broke out after Milwaukee’s Juneteenth festivities — which are among the oldest celebrations in the country, beginning in 1971 — had wrapped up on King Drive near Rose Park. The festivities included food vendors, music, and a parade of youth dance groups, marching bands and drill teams.
Hours before the shooting, Milwaukee Police tweeted photos of officers at the celebrations, saying “Happy Juneteenth.”
“Today was a glorious day,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “We celebrated Juneteenth. And I think it’s important to point out the fact that this incident did not happen during Juneteenth. This happened after Juneteenth had concluded.”
“But still, it is totally, it is totally, totally unacceptable for this incident that happened right in this neighborhood, right in this community,” Johnson said.
“This is not a Milwaukee Police Department thing. Not the mayor’s thing. Not just only community organizers,” Norman said. “It’s an ‘us’ thing… We need you, all of you to be part of this effort to make our city safer.”
Monday’s shooting comes after one person died and 22 others were injured in a mass shooting in Illinois on Sunday following Juneteenth celebrations in the town of Willowbrook.