2 dead, 3 injured in park shooting
Attack ends violent Memorial Day weekend in city
By LINDA SPICE, DAN BENSON and BOB PURVISjsmetro@journalsentinel.com
Posted: May 29, 2006
Two people were killed and three others injured when a man opened fire on picnickers in a crowded Bay View park Monday evening, capping off what police called one of Milwaukee's most violent Memorial Day weekends in recent memory.
Witnesses described the frantic scene that caused the hundreds of panicked Memorial Day picnickers at South Shore Park to grab their children and flee in terror as shots echoed.
"All the parents were scared for their kids; they grabbed them and were running away," said Jesus Romero, who had been there since 1 p.m. eating with his family. Romero heard a succession of popping sounds that he initially mistook for fireworks.
He said there were about 50 children on the playground when the shooting occurred.
Peter Quinones was sitting under a tree on a hill nearby, and he heard at least six shots but said the gunfire didn't catch his attention until the second or third shot.
Police officers talk to people Monday evening after a shooting at South Shore Park. Police did not offer an estimate of how many people were in the park.
Quinones said he turned to see a man wearing a white shirt and armed with a handgun methodically circling the tables where a group of about 10 people had been seated.
"At point-blank range, he was shooting," Quinones said. "We stayed for about five or six shots, and we got out of there."
Quinones said the man looked determined to cause damage.
Quinones said, "He was so concentrated on that table, it looked like he wanted to wipe out that whole group of people."
Quinones' brother-in-law Eduardo Perez saw one of the shooting victims fall down only to have the assailant fire at him again as he lay on the ground.
"He shot the guy when he was down. He wanted to make sure he was dead. This is wrong," Perez said.
Anne E. Schwartz, Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman, confirmed what witnesses described.
About 7:30 p.m. atop a hill overlooking the marina at South Shore Park, 2900 South Shore Drive, the man fired multiple gunshots at the group, Schwartz said.
The dead are a 17-year-old boy and 31-year-old man. Two others, a woman, 23, and a man, 34, were in surgery Monday night and were listed in critical condition.
A 21-year-old man was also shot in the leg, Schwartz said. She declined to release the victims' identities.
Ruben Santos said he came down to the lakefront with his family to celebrate his niece's birthday. When he heard shots, he said, he frantically gathered his family and fled the park.
"This is a massacre here. It is a massacre," Santos said.
Schwartz did not estimate how many people were in the park but said there were still many people there when the shooting occurred.
"It was a chaotic scene. There was a big crowd here when it happened," said Schwartz.
But police were looking for a person late Monday and had a description of a vehicle, Schwartz said. She declined to release any of that information, but said it appears the assailant knew his victims.
"We have a good idea who we're looking for, so the people in this neighborhood can rest easy," Schwartz said.
Johanna Chavez lives nearby and said she brings her 1-year-old son to the park at least three times a week. She was shaken by the shooting.
Chavez was not there at the time of the shooting but joined about 100 people who crowded the police tape around the scene after she heard sirens from her nearby home.
"It surprises me. I'm not going to come here anymore," Chavez said.
A weekend of violence
Monday's shooting raised the number of weekend shootings to 28, Schwartz said, four of them fatal.
Details were available about some of the shootings.
The weekend got off to a bloody start when two men, one 22 and the other 18, each were shot in the leg Friday evening after arguing with a stranger outside a tavern in the 3800 block of N. 15th St.
About 11:20 p.m. Friday, a 38-year-old man was shot in the thigh as he was talking to a woman while seated in a vehicle in the 3100 block of W. St. Paul Ave. Police say the woman's ex-boyfriend walked up and fired shots into the vehicle.
A 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the head about 12:15 a.m. Saturday on the street in the 2600 block of N. Sherman Blvd., police said.
A 28-year-old man died early Saturday from a gunshot wound to the chest after a shooting outside La Careta Vieja tavern at 1339 W. Greenfield Ave. Three others were injured in that shooting
Saturday night, three people were critically wounded in three separate shootings.
Neighborhood activist Ester Hodges, 48, was shot in the stomach about 9 p.m. in the 4300 block of W. Garfield Ave. after using a gun in a confrontation with other people. Investigators are still unsure if she was shot with her own weapon.
At 9:05 p.m., a 25-year-old man who had been shot in the back was found in a car at N. 20th and W. State streets, police said. By 9:15 p.m., police were responding to the 2700 block of N. 18th St., where a 22-year-old man was shot in the shoulder.
About 12:10 a.m. Sunday, shots were fired outside a home in the 4900 block of N. 60th St., wounding three men and a woman, all of whom are 19.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, a 26-year-old man was shot in the hip in the 2300 block of W. Lloyd St.
Early Monday, a 20-year-old Milwaukee man was shot on N. 11th St.
The victim was wounded twice in the upper torso at 1:41 a.m. Monday outside a residence in the 3100 block of N. 11th St. He was in critical condition at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa.
Police were seeking a assailant described as another 20-year-old man.
Victims' families arrive at park
Late Monday, as the crowd of onlookers began to disperse from South Shore Park, a woman arrived at the police line. Her cries became louder. Her body wrenched as if near collapse as a man with her wrapped his arms around her arms and chest. He held her back as she attempted to cross under the police crime tape.
"Please, I want my son! I want my son!" she cried in Spanish as detectives took her under the tape and toward a toddler playground. There, she sat later on a bench, her cries filling the park.
Soon, more family members arrived and crossed under the crime tape toward the scene, where the two dead men lay under coverings.
The story can be found at; http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=429290