Kenosha police are searching Wednesday for a suspect seen on video armed with a long gun after a shooting late Tuesday killed two people and wounded a third.
Officers responded at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday to reports of shots fired and multiple gunshot victims near 63rd Street and Sheridan Road. Two people were killed, and a third was hospitalized with serious, but not life-threatening injuries, the Kenosha Police Department said in a statement.
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW IS GRAPHIC
Investigators were looking into whether the shooting unfolded as a result of a conflict that broke out between demonstrators and “self-styled militias guarding a gas station,” Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the New York Times.
Videos on social media showed a chaotic scene after nightfall, as crowds seemed to chase a man carrying a rifle down the street, before eventually knocking him to the ground and trying to grab his weapon, Reuters reported. A bloodied man was seen with what appeared to be a serious arm wound. Another video showed a man with a head injury as crowds gathered around him to treat him.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, had called for calm earlier Tuesday, while also declaring a state of emergency under which he doubled the National Guard deployment in Kenosha from 125 to 250. The night before, crowds destroyed dozens of buildings and set more than 30 fires in the city’s downtown.
“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue,” said Evers, who has been facing mounting pressure from Republicans over his handling of the unrest. “We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”
Hundreds of people again defied curfew Tuesday night in Kenosha, where destruction marred protests the previous night as fires were set and businesses vandalized. There were 34 fires associated with that unrest, with 30 businesses destroyed or damaged along with an unknown number of homes, Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig told the Kenosha News.
“Nobody deserves this,” said Pat Oertle, owner of Computer Adventure, which was left “destroyed” by looters Monday night who made out of the store with stolen computers. “This accomplishes nothing. This is not justice that they’re looking for.”
Jacob Blake, whom Kenosha police shot multiple times, has been paralyzed, and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again, his family’s attorney said Tuesday, while calling for the officer who fired shots to be arrested and others involved to lose their jobs.
The shooting of Blake on Sunday in Kenosha — apparently in the back while three of his children looked on — was captured on cellphone video and ignited new protests over racial injustice in several cities, coming just three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police touched off a wider reckoning on race.
Police have said little about what happened, other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute. The officers involved have not been named. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating.
Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said the damage in Kenosha did not reflect what her family wanted, and if her son could see it, he would be “very unpleased.”
“Do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts,” she pleaded at a news conference Tuesday, as her son was undergoing surgery. “As I pray for my son’s healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country.”
Police fired tear gas for a third night Tuesday to disperse protesters who had gathered outside Kenosha’s courthouse, where some shook a protective fence and threw water bottles and fireworks at officers lined up behind it. Police then used armored vehicles and officers with shields pushed back the crowd when protesters ignored warnings to leave a nearby park.
Anger over the shooting has spilled into the streets of Kenosha and other cities, including Los Angeles, Wisconsin’s capital of Madison and in Minneapolis, the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer following Floyd’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.