MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — A Milwaukee police officer chased down a robbery suspect and was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire early Tuesday. The suspect also died from a gunshot wound, police said.
Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said the suspect ignored officers’ commands and fled on foot when they arrived at the robbery scene about 1:15 a.m. on the city’s south side. One officer then caught up with the suspect and a struggle ensued. Both men fired their weapons.
The wounded officer, a 37-year-old man with more than four years with the Milwaukee Police Department, died at a hospital, he said.
The suspect, a 19-year-old Milwaukee man, died at the scene. The chief said it was not immediately clear if the suspect died from the shot fired by the officer or a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Milwaukee, our hearts are heavy. Milwaukee Police Department hearts are heavy. My heart is heavy,” Norman told a news conference. “The violence needs to stop!”
Norman said the shooting remains under investigation so identities would not be immediately released. He said the city and its police department are in mourning.
“One of our finest, who put on that uniform, put on that badge, went into work last night has paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our community. Milwaukee, we need your prayers, we need your support.”
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, angry and frustrated, said the entire community, not just police, must play an active role in trying to combat gun violence and making the city safe.
“The men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, it’s not just them — it’s up to all of us,” the mayor said. “Enough of this, enough of this. There’s no excuse for this. This officer should not be dead right now.”
Like other communities across America, Milwaukee has struggled with gun violence for years. According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel database, 224 people were killed in the city last year, 197 people in 2021 and 190 in 2020, about 90% of them shot to death.
The city saw fewer than 120 homicides each year from 2017 to 2019. Guns were still the weapon of choice, though, at around 80% each year.
The U.S. Census Bureau listed the city’s population at 569,330 in 2021.
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