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3 Shot, 2 Killed in 3rd Night of Unrest After Police Shooting in Kenosha

'We were all chanting ‘black lives matter’ at the gas station and then we heard, boom, boom...'

(Headline USA) Two people were killed and another was wounded as shots were fired late Tuesday in Kenosha during the third night of unrest in Wisconsin following the police shooting of a black man who resisted arrest, Jacob Blake, authorities said.

The shootings were reported at about 11:45 p.m. in an area where riots have taken place, Kenosha police Lt. Joseph Nosalik said in a news release. They happened after police drove away violent protesters from in front of a courthouse that had been the site of the main clashes between rioters and authorities.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said one victim was shot in the head and another was shot in the chest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Beth didn’t know where the other person was shot, but his or her injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Beth told the Journal Sentinel that armed people patrolled the city’s streets in recent nights, but he did not know if the shooter was among them.

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“They’re a militia,” Beth said. “They’re like a vigilante group.”

Cellphone video of at least two of the shootings 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 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 just shot someone, but several of the cars drive past him toward the people who had been shot.

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Beth told the Journal Sentinel that no one had been detained over the shootings, but that he thought at least one person would be soon based on video police had reviewed.

“I feel very confident we’ll have him in a very short time,” he said.

Protester Devin Scott told the Chicago Tribune that he witnessed one of the shootings.

“We were all chanting ‘black lives matter’ at the gas station and then we heard, boom, boom, and I told my friend, that’s not fireworks,” said Scott, 19. “And then this guy with this huge gun runs by us in the middle of the street and people are yelling, ‘He shot someone! He shot someone!’ And everyone is trying to fight the guy, chasing him and then he started shooting again.”

“I was cradling him in my arms. I was trying to keep this kid alive and he wasn’t moving or nothing. He was just laying there,” Scott said. “I didn’t know what to do and then this woman starts performing CPR. There was no pulse. I don’t think he made it.”

The shooting victims have not been identified.

Earlier Tuesday, the lawyer for Jacob Blake’s family said Blake was shot multiple times by police on Sunday and that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again. He called for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and others involved to lose their jobs.

The shooting of Blake was captured on cellphone video and ignited new riots over racial injustice in several cities, coming just three months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Earlier Tuesday, Blake’s father spoke alongside other family members and lawyers, telling reporters that police shot his son “seven times, seven times, like he didn’t matter.”

“But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters,” said Blake’s father, who is also named Jacob Blake.

The 29-year-old with a long rap sheet was in surgery Tuesday, said attorney Ben Crump, adding that the bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae. Another attorney said there was also severe damage to organs.

“It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr. to ever walk again,” Crump said.

The legal team plans to file a civil lawsuit against the police department over the shooting. 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.

Police fired tear gas for a third night Tuesday to disperse rioters 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.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers had called for calm Tuesday after inflaming the situation Sunday with comments about the shooting, 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. “We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”

The governor is facing mounting pressure from Republicans over his weak handling of the unrest.

“Yesterday, Governor Evers sent 250 National Guard to Kenosha,” said Rep. Bryan Steil, who represents Kenosha. “This was woefully insufficient. Yesterday, I asked the President for additional assistance. He agreed. The offer was rejected by Governor Evers. Again, I call on the Governor to accept the President’s offer of assistance, supported by Kenosha officials, which includes National Guard from other states and federal law enforcement officers. The violence needs to stop now.”

Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, said the damage in Kenosha does not reflect what her family wants and that, if her son could see it, he would be “very unpleased.”

She said the first thing her son said to her when she saw him was he was sorry.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to be a burden on you guys,’” Jackson said. “‘I want to be with my children, and I don’t think I’ll walk again.’”

Three of the younger Blake’s sons — aged 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car at the time of the shooting, Crump said. It was the 8-year-old’s birthday, he added.

The man who said he made the cellphone video of the shooting, 22-year-old Raysean White, said he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted.

He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.

In the footage, Blake walks from the sidewalk around the front of his SUV to his driver-side door as officers follow him with their guns drawn, while he disobeys their instructions. Another video released on Tuesday showed Blake broke free from officers as they tried to arrest and subdue him on the opposite side of the vehicle. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, an officer grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire. Seven shots can be heard, though it isn’t clear how many struck Blake or how many officers fired.

Hundreds of people again defied curfew Tuesday 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 residences, Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig told the Kenosha News.

“Nobody deserves this,” said Pat Oertle, owner of Computer Adventure, surveying the damage on Tuesday. Computers were stolen, and the store was “destroyed,” she said.

“This accomplishes nothing,” Oertle said. “This is not justice that they’re looking for.”

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.

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