Off-duty officer shot in Milwaukee’s Third Ward neighborhood

Detective reportedly attempted to stop robbery when shot

Lights on a police car

An off-duty police officer was shot Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee’s Third Ward neighborhood. The shooting happened in broad daylight in one of Milwaukee’s most affluent neighborhoods as the city continues to struggle with violence.

According to police, a suspect attempted to steal a vehicle with three children inside from a woman in the 200 block of E. Buffalo Street around 2 p.m. When he was unsuccessful, he went into Shake Shack, 220 E. Buffalo St., and approached a female.

A 37-year-old off-duty Milwaukee police detective intervened and was shot multiple times. The suspect fled the scene, said Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman.

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Milwaukee Police attempted to stop the suspect in the 2700 block of W. State Street, but he refused to stop. Norman said police pursued the suspect and arrested two men ages 17 and 18 at 29th and Chambers on Milwaukee’s northwest side. Criminal charges will be recommended to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, Norman said.

The off-duty detective, who has been an officer in Milwaukee for seven years, was taken to Froedtert Hospital where he is expected to live.

“This was an off duty detective probably just ordering food,” Norman said. “He went into danger without any hesitation. I am proud that we are able to be professional on and off duty.”

On Wednesday, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson introduced a safety plan to tackle gun violence, reckless driving and car thefts. Johnson said, while at the scene after the detective was shot, that since 2022 began, there has already been a 9-year-old shot, a 16-year-old killed at work and now an off-duty officer shot in the city.

“Folks in this city have had enough violence, particularly the deadly gun violence,” Johnson said. “That’s why we are going to be working with our partners at the state, to make sure these incidences aren’t happening, because they are literally affecting everyone in this community from our babies to the police.”

Ongoing violence in Milwaukee

Earlier Thursday, Norman spoke to the Milwaukee Press Club about the ongoing violence in the city.

When asked how to solve the issues, Norman said, “If there was a magic pill out there, I’ll swallow it.”

Milwaukee police investigated 193 homicides last year, another record for murders in Milwaukee, which used to have homicide numbers ranging from 70-80. Thirteen days into 2022, there have already been eight murders in the city.

About 50 percent of the murders in 2020 and 2021 have been solved.

“There is a capacity issue right now, we’re dealing with more than what we have normally been dealing with,” Norman said.

Norman said there is an issue with conflict resolution in the city. He pointed to the No. 2 reason for homicides being arguments and the No. 3 reason being domestic violence.

“I’m born and raised in Milwaukee. I had a fight or two, with these,” Norman said, holding up his fists. “We have individuals carrying weapons out there with no care of what they are being used for other than self-preservation of their life.”

Norman said he will consider adding additional homicide detectives to the department, but he also wants to work with community groups to lower the number of murders.

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