A standoff between police and an angry crowd turned violent Saturday night in the hours after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed an armed suspect during a foot chase.
After an hours-long confrontation with officers, police reported at 10:15 p.m. CT that a gas station was set on fire. Police said firefighters could not get close to the blaze because of gunshots.
Later, fires were started at businesses — including a BMO Harris Bank branch, a beauty supply company and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores — near N. 35th and W. Burleigh streets as scores of people gathered near the crime scene on the city’s north side, a grim and emphatic Mayor Tom Barrett said at a news conference.
The mayor and Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton pleaded with the public for calm, and Barrett said there would be a strong police presence in the following days.
“Our police officers are doing everything they can to restore order,” he said.
“If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by their ears,” he added. “Get them home.”
Police had “shown an amazing amount of restraint,” Barrett said. Some at the scene took to social media earlier Saturday night to encourage others, many of them young people, to come out and participate in what the mayor described as trouble-making. He urged parents to keep tight reins on their children to avoid a repeat of Saturday night.
Hamilton said, “Our city is in turmoil tonight.” He promised a full and open investigation into the police-involved shooting.
“When we get information, we are going to share it with the public, please allow the process to work,” he said.