Two people were shot to death and another was wounded during a third night of protests in Kenosha over the shooting ofthe 29-year-old Black man who was shot several times by police. Authorities on Wednesday hunted for a possible vigilante seen on cellphone video opening fire in the middle of the street with a rifle.
“I just killed somebody,” he could be heard saying at one point Tuesday night.
The gunfire was reported just before midnight, and Sheriff David Beth said one victim was shot in the head and another in the chest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The third victim’s wounds were not believed to life-threatening.
He said that investigators had reviewed footage of what happened and that he was confident a man would be arrested soon.
The shooting came after clashes erupted again between demonstrators and law enforcement in Kenosha, and afterfrom the waist down.
Graphic cellphone video that was posted online shows what appears to be a White man with a semi-automatic rifle jogging down the middle of a street as a crowd and some police officers follow him. Someone in the crowd can be heard asking “What did he do?” and another person responds that the man had shot someone.
The man with the gun stumbles and falls, and as he’s approached by people in the crowd, he fires three or four shots from the seated position, hitting at least two people, including one who falls over and another who stumbles away to frantic shouts of “Medic! Medic!”
With the crowd scattering, the shooter stands up and continues walking down the street as police cars arrive. The man puts up his hands and walks toward the squad cars, with someone in the crowd yelling at police that the man had just shot someone, but several of the cars drive past him toward the people who had been shot.
Tension also arose earlier Tuesday between protesters and a group purportedly organized to protect property. The group showed up armed, promising to protect any property in Kenosha that might be harmed, reports CBS Milwaukee affiliate WDJT-TV. There was no word on any connection between their presence and the violence that unfolded later.
Armored vehicles fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters gathered outside the Kenosha courthouse Tuesday night, WDJT said. The crowd threw objects, including glass and plastic bottles.
Rubber bullets were fired as the crowd pushed toward the gate outside the courthouse.
Police gave warnings to leave the area but the crowd didn’t. Police then used more tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the park adjacent to the courthouse. CBS Chicago reports more fires were set in Kenosha Wednesday night.
Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who wasby police in Kenosha, Sunday underwent more surgery Tuesday and was “struggling to sustain his life,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said.
The shooting, apparently into Blake’s back and with his three young children in a car as he leaned in, sparked newin several cities, and some escalated into violence. Blake was shot three months after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“The medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralyzed and because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae… it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Crump said. “He is currently in surgery as we speak, still struggling to sustain his life and to hopefully become some resemblance of the man he once was.”
Attorney Patrick Salvi elaborated on Blake’s injuries, telling reporters at least one bullet tore through his spinal cord. Salvi also said that the bullets left holes in Blake’s stomach, caused damage to his kidney and liver, and required that “nearly his entire colon and small intestine” be removed.
The shooting, which is under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, occurred around 5 p.m. when officers responded to calls of a domestic incident. Video of the encounter showed Blake walking away from police, prompting one officer to grab his shirt as he attempted to open the driver’s side door of a parked SUV. The officer then shot Blake multiple times in the back.
The video quickly went viral on social media, sparking unrest in the city. Two officers involved in the arrest have been placed on administrative leave. The FBI is assisting the Wisconsin DOJ with the investigation.
Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency in Wisconsin Tuesday and authorized the presence of up to 250 members of the state’s National Guard. The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department instituted an 8 p.m. curfew for the third night in a row.
Members of Blake’s family decried the shooting on Tuesday. “They shot my son seven times, seven times like he didn’t matter,” his father said at the press conference. “But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters.”
“My son has been fighting for his life and we really just need prayers,” his mother said.
“So many people have reached out to me, telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family,” one of his sisters said. “Well don’t be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time — longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando (Castille), Mike Brown, Sandra (Bland) — this has been happening to my family, and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to.”
“I’m angry and I’m tired. I haven’t cried one time,” she added. “I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years.”