3 Shot, 2 Fatally, In Kenosha, Wis., As Protests Continue Over Police Shooting

David Goldman, AP

Protesters attempt to topple a fence outside the Kenosha County Courthouse late Tuesday in Kenosha, Wis. Protests continued following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday.

Updated 2:38 p.m. ET

Three people were shot, two fatally, during protests in Kenosha, Wis., overnight as demonstrators took to the streets for a third consecutive night to protest the police shooting of a Black resident, Jacob Blake.

Kenosha Police Department released few details early Wednesday, but confirmed two people had been shot and killed, while a third person suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a statement.

Officials said the investigation is ongoing and that the names, ages and cities of the victims’ residences were still being determined. Police said the shooting took place just before midnight.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel one of the victims suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Another victim was shot in the chest, however he was unsure where the third victim was shot.

He also told the paper he believed at least one person would be taken in to custody soon based on video police had seen.

Beth also told the Kenosha News both the Kenosha Police and the FBI are investigating the incident.

The newspaper also reports that both a shooter and one of the fatalities were white males and that “dozens of shots were heard” at the protest site. It notes there were earlier scuffles between Black Lives Matter supporters and armed individuals that did not lead to gunfire earlier in the night.

Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Rachael Vasquez said a small group of protesters arrived later and threw objects at police.

Video shows chaotic scene

One video posted to social media shows a chaotic scene where multiple gunshots can be heard. In it, a man is jogging down the middle of a street carrying a long gun.

A person can be heard on the video asking, “What he do?”

“He shot someone,” another person answers.

Moments later, the man with the gun falls to the ground, someone yells “Get his a**!”

The man then turns on his backside and hoists the gun as people run at him, including one person who jumps and kicks at him.

The man then appears to start shooting at the people around him.

One man is shot at close range, stumbles off and falls to the ground. A second man appears to be shot in the arm or shoulder and retreats.

Cries of “Medic! Medic!” can be heard.

Later in the footage, the gunman approaches law enforcement with his arms raised above his head, but no one stops or apprehends him before the video cuts off.

In a statement Tuesday released prior to the shooting, the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department said it was bracing for “what will likely be another very challenging night in Kenosha County.” It also reminded residents of the curfew that was in effect from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time.

Kenosha Guard Militia

The sheriff said armed civilians have been patrolling Kenosha streets during the protests, but he was not clear if a shooter was linked to that group, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

“They’re a militia,” Beth told the paper. “They’re like a vigilante group.”

Wisconsin is an open carry state, meaning that gun owners can legally carry loaded firearms in public.

A Facebook group calling itself the Kenosha Guard posted a message Wednesday saying it was not sure if a shooter had answered the group’s call to arms. The group had been open to the public as of Wednesday morning, but has since disappeared. NPR took screen grabs of messages posted to it before it was blocked from public view.

“We are unaware if the armed citizen was answering the Kenosha Guard Militia’s call to arms,” the statement said. “Just like with the shooting of Jacob Blake, we need all the facts and evidence to come out before we make a judgement. God Bless and stay safe Kenosha!”

In a separate post on Tuesday, the group addressed Kenosha’s police chief in announcing the group had more than 3,000 volunteers who said they would be present in several city neighborhoods. It also warned law enforcement not to tell members of the group to go home under threat of arrest, and that the militia would outnumber law enforcement agents.

Gov. Declares State of Emergency

Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and ordered additional Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist local law enforcement agencies, bringing to 250 the number of troops deployed to the city.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, said in a tweet Wednesday that it was “heartbreaking” that violence in the city had led to fatalities. He then chastised the state’s governor for not accepting an offer from President Trump for more National Guard troops.

“Governor should call in the National Guard in Wisconsin. It is ready, willing, and more than able. End problem FAST!” the president tweeted Tuesday.

On Wednesday, members of the Kenosha County Board sent a letter to the Evers requesting the number of troops be increased to 1,500 and for them to “be sent here immediately.”

The protests were sparked in Kenosha, a city of 100,000 people about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, after a video posted on social media went viral on Sunday showing Blake being shot multiple times in the back by police as he leaned into a gray SUV. Blake’s three young sons were in the vehicle when he was shot.

The family’s attorney Benjamin Crump addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon, confirming that Blake was paralyzed from the waist down. He noted that at the time of the press conference Blake was in another surgery and said “it’s going to take a miracle” for him to walk again.

Another attorney for the family, Patrick Salvi, shared vivid details of the extent of Blake’s injuries, including a bullet that went through some or all of his spinal cord and damaged his kidney and liver. Blake also was shot in the arm, had holes in his stomach, and had to have the majority of his colon and small intestine removed, Salvi said.

On Monday the Wisconsin Department of Justice said that it was investigating the shooting of Blake and that it was being assisted by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department.

The officers involved in the Blake shooting have not been identified, but officials said they have been placed on administrative leave and are cooperating with the investigation.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.