Police identify victims, shooter in Milwaukee brewery shooting rampage

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Police in Milwaukee on Thursday identified the five brewery employees shot and killed by a co-worker who later took his own life in the latest spasm of gun violence plaguing U.S. workplaces and schools.

The motive for the carnage was unclear a day after the shooting at the landmark Molson Coors Beverage Co complex shook Wisconsin’s largest city.

“Reasons for this are still under investigation,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said.

The victims were identified by police as Jesus Valle Jr., 33, Gennady Levshetz, 61, Trevor Wetselaar, 33, Dana Walk, 57, and Dale Hudson, 50.

“Today, 18,000 Molson Coors employees are grieving,” Gavin Hattersley, the chief executive officer of Molson Coors, told a news conference.

The victims “were husbands, they were fathers and they were friends,” Hattersley said. “They were part of the fabric of our company and our community and we will miss them terribly.”

Police identified the shooter as Anthony Ferrill, 51, an employee of the brewery, who was believed to have acted alone.

Earlier on Thursday, police investigators were seen entering and leaving a ranch house on Milwaukee’s northwest side believed to be owned by Ferrill.

The suspect’s neighbor, Erna Roenspies, 82, cried as she stood at her front door, looking at the police tape around Ferrill’s home.

“He was like a son to me,” Roenspies said as she wiped her eyes. “I don’t know what triggered this. Let’s pray for everyone.”

Ferrill, who worked as an electrician at the brewery, lived in the neighborhood for 15 years. Roenspies said Ferrill was a good husband and father of three children and helped his neighbor by doing odd jobs and repairs.

“He would come over and fix anything,” Roenspies said. “This is unreal.”

“This is a tragic day for our city, this is a tragic day for our state,” Mayor Tom Barrett said on Wednesday evening outside the facility, known to locals as the old Miller brewery.

MOSTLY DESERTED

Some 1,400 employees work at the Molson Coors campus, which consists of about 20 buildings. Most were forced to remain holed up inside for several hours on Wednesday as police methodically swept the facilities to secure the property.

Police who stormed the building where the shooting unfolded found the assailant dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Morales told reporters on Wednesday.

The bodies of his five victims were found in the same building. It was unclear whether they and the gunman knew one another.

No one else was injured in the violence, which was confined to the brewing complex, west of the downtown area, and did not involve members of the general public, Morales said.

The complex, usually bustling with activity, was mostly deserted on Thursday morning, with few cars in the parking lots and a smattering of employees arriving at work.

There were 417 mass shootings in the United States last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the highest annual number since the nonprofit research group started keeping a tally in 2013. GVA defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people, excluding the perpetrator, are shot.

The shooting in Wisconsin, a swing state in the presidential election, may reignite a debate about gun control as the campaign accelerates. Milwaukee will host the Democratic National Convention in July to nominate a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney)

Gunman kills five co-workers and himself in Molson Coors brewery shooting in Milwaukee

By Brendan O’Brien

Milwaukee (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire at the Molson Coors Beverage Co brewing complex in Milwaukee on Wednesday, killing five co-workers before he was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, the city’s police chief said.

No one else was injured in the violence at the sprawling campus of more than 20 buildings, where some 1,400 workers are employed by the beer company in Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said.

The entire Molson Coors property was placed under a security lockdown for several hours following the gunfire as police swept each building to rule out any further threats or victims.

“We can now say that the scene is secure. All employees who were on scene have been allowed to go home,” Morales told reporters at a late-night news conference several hours after the afternoon shooting.

Morales said the bloodshed was confined to the Molson Coors <TAP.N> complex west of downtown – a facility known to locals as the old Miller brewery – and that “no members of the general public were involved.”

Miller beer is one of the company’s leading brands, and Mayor Tom Barrett said the plant has been part of the city for 165 years.

Morales said the body of the dead gunman, who was believed to have acted alone, was found in the same building as his five victims.

The suspect was described by police as a 51-year-old Milwaukee resident and employee of Molson Coors. Details about the circumstances of the shooting, including what may have precipitated the carnage, were not provided by authorities.

“We are a family here at Molson Coors in Milwaukee, and this is an unthinkable tragedy for us,” company President and Chief Executive Officer Gavin Hattersley told reporters.

President Donald Trump, acknowledging the shooting hours earlier as he opened a White House news conference about the coronavirus outbreak, referred to the gunman as a “wicked murderer” and called the gun violence “a terrible thing.”

“Our hearts go out to the people of Wisconsin and to the families,” he said.

PRAYERS, CONDOLENCES, SOMBER TOASTS

At a news conference earlier in the evening, the mayor branded the shooting “an unspeakable tragedy.”

“There were five individuals who went to work today just like everybody goes to work. They thought they were going to work and return to their families. They didn’t, and tragically they never will.”

In the immediate aftermath of the bloodshed, the company advised employees in an email that the gunman had been located in or near a second-floor stairwell near a packaging facility, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Hours later at Spitfires on State, a tavern a few blocks from the shooting scene, patrons made solemn toasts to Miller, an iconic Milwaukee brand. A small group of employees, still wearing their protective gear from their shift earlier in the day at the brewery, huddled together inside the bar.

“Prayers and condolences,” one female employee said as she left the bar after hugging two co-workers.

The Milwaukee shooting seemed likely to reignite a contentious debate about gun control in the midst of the U.S. presidential election.

The campaign of Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, was set to host a roundtable discussion about gun violence at an event in Los Angeles on Thursday.

A campaign spokeswoman said the event, which Bloomberg was not planning to attend, was previously scheduled, but added, “recent events will likely be discussed.”

Last year saw 417 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive, the highest annual number since the nonprofit research group started keeping a tally in 2013. GVA defines a mass shooting as any in which at least four people, excluding the perpetrator, are shot.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Leslie Adler, Cynthia Osterman, Peter Cooney and Lincoln Feast.)

‘Multiple people’ killed in shooting at Molson Coors facility in Milwaukee

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – “Multiple people” were killed in a mass shooting at a Molson Coors Beverage Co facility in Milwaukee on Wednesday, with the suspect apparently among the dead, the city’s mayor, Tom Barrett, said.

Milwaukee police said on Twitter they were responding to a “critical incident,” but released no immediate details.

“What has happened is there was a horrific shooting that has occurred,” Barrett said, speaking to reporters near the scene. “There are multiple people who have died, including, I believe, the shooter.”

Emergency vehicles are parked near the entrance to Molson Coors headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 26, 2020. Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS

The Milwaukee Police Department provided no details on the incident or the number of fatalities. But in a post on Twitter it said: “There are various sources citing various numbers of casualties. At this time that information has not been confirmed.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing unnamed sources, said seven people had been killed, including the shooter, at the Molson Coors brewery complex. ABC News reported eight fatalities.

The Police Department said on Twitter only that police were “investigating a critical incident” and urged the public to “stay clear of the area” near the city center.

“There is no active threat; however, this scene is still an active scene,” the department said in an updated post at about 4:40 p.m. CST.

Police and fire department officials did not immediately return phone calls or email queries from Reuters.

The Molson Coors Beverage Co said in a statement: “There is an active situation at our Milwaukee facility and we are working closely with the Milwaukee Police Department. Our top priority is our employees and we’ll provide updates in conjunction with the police as we are able.”

The entire Molson Coors campus headquarters was placed under a security lockdown, and the company told employees in an email that the shooter was located in or near a second-floor stairwell near a packaging facility, The Journal Sentinel reported.

Video footage from the scene showed streets cordoned off with numerous police and fire department vehicles ringing the area as brewery workers were escorted from buildings.

Local television station WISN, an ABC affiliate, said police appeared to be searching a vehicle on or near the scene.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Molson Coors Beverage Co, which operates MillerCoors, announced plans last fall to close a Denver office and relocate some corporate support jobs to the Milwaukee office. The newspaper said the restructuring was designed to cut costs and resulted in 400 to 500 jobs being eliminated throughout Molson Coors.

It said the company now has 610 jobs at its Milwaukee corporate office, in addition to 750 jobs at two breweries in the city.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Storm to clobber U.S. Midwest with snow, wind and frigid temps

A jogger runs through the rain past the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2018.

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – A storm is expected to clobber Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee with heavy snow, gusty winds and freezing temperatures that will slow travel for millions of commuters on Thursday evening and Friday.

The storm system that stretches from western Montana across parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois and east into southern Michigan will drop as much 12 inches (30 cm) of snow and produce 35 miles per hour (56 kph) winds, the National Weather Service said in several advisories.

“Periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities,” the service said in an advisory for southern Wisconsin.

Wind chill temperatures were expected to drop below 0 Fahrenheit (-18 C) in many areas across the region on Thursday night and into Friday morning.

United Airlines said on Twitter the storm was expected to impact operations this week and that travel waivers were in effect for areas affected by the snow.

Winter weather across the United States over the last several days has killed several people in accidents in the Midwest since Monday, including six in Iowa, two in Missouri and one in Montana, local media in those states reported.

(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

Deep freeze keeps grip on eastern United States; four die

Elena Barduniotis from Colorado waits in Times Square ahead of New Year's celebrations in Manhattan.

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – A record-shattering Arctic freeze kept its grip on much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday but temperatures everywhere except the Northeast were expected to warm within 24 hours.

Many school districts shut their classrooms due to the cold snap, which claimed four lives over the long New Year’s weekend.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill warnings for Tuesday as dangerously low temperatures were due from eastern Montana across the Midwest into the Atlantic coast and the Northeast and down through the deep South.

School districts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina canceled or delayed the start of classes as bitterly cold temperatures, 20 degrees to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (11 to 17 degrees Celsius) below normal, were expected across the eastern half of the United States.

“Just the bitter cold which is just too dangerous to put kids out on the street waiting for a bus that may not come,” Herb Levine, superintendent of the Peabody Public Schools, north of Boston, told a local CBS affiliate television station.

The cold was blamed for the deaths of two men in separate incidents in Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A homeless man was found dead on a porch in Charleston, West Virginia, while another man was found dead outside a church in Detroit and police said he may have froze to death, local news outlets reported.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to call the city if they saw people outside.

“We want every resident to have shelter and warmth,” she said in a tweet.

Many places across the United States experienced record low temperatures over the last few days. Omaha, Nebraska, posted a low of minus 20F (minus 29C), breaking a 130-year-old record, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, shattered a record set in 1919 with a temperature of minus 32F (minus 36C).

The cold should ease across most of the country after Tuesday, but the northeastern section of the country will see a repeat of the frigid weather on Thursday or Friday as another arctic blast hits the area.

Private AccuWeather forecaster said the cold snap could combine with a storm brewing off the Bahamas to bring snow and high winds to much of the Eastern Seaboard as it heads north on Wednesday and Thursday.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Jeffrey Benkoe)

U.S. Upper Midwest factory sector grows fastest in three years

Steam is seen drifting from a factory over the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in this February, 6, 2014 file photo.

(Reuters) – A gauge of factory activity in the U.S. Upper Midwest improved to the strongest level in over three years in December, led by much stronger readings on new orders and production, according a private survey released on Friday.

Marquette University and the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee said their seasonally adjusted index on manufacturing in the Milwaukee region rose to 65.57 this month from 59.62 in November.

The December figure was the highest since November 2014 when it was 68.9.

A reading above 50 indicates regional factory activity is expanding.

The upbeat snapshot of upper Midwest business activity coincided with a jump in a similar measure for the Chicago area.

On Thursday, MNI Indicators and ISM-Chicago said their jointly developed Chicago Purchase Management Index rose to 67.6 in December, the highest since March 2011.

The Marquette University and Milwaukee ISM survey’s component on new orders, a proxy on future activity, increased to 88.33 from 66.46 last month, while its production gauge improved to 72.65 from 57.94.

Not all the components improved in December. The survey’s employment index fell to 58.67 from 61.73, while its six-month outlook gauge slipped to 71.43 from 73.33.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Bar rises for Milwaukee police review after latest shooting

police standing guide after police shooting

By David Ingram

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Milwaukee, shaken by two nights of violence after a shooting by police, is one of a few U.S. cities to have volunteered for federal government review of its police force and may now be held to higher standards for how it responds.

Beginning in December, the review included a public “listening session” that, according to Milwaukee media, drew 700 people to a library auditorium to air their frustrations to U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Some community leaders said the weekend violence should result in a tougher review and real change.

“I would hope that the cries of the unheard … are now being heard around the country out of Milwaukee,” said Rev. Steve Jerbi, the lead pastor at All Peoples Church in the Wisconsin city of about 595,000 people.

The Obama administration has promoted a $10 million nationwide voluntary review program as a way to improve policing amid nationwide complaints of racial profiling and targeting. Milwaukee has become the latest U.S. city to experience discord after high-profile police killings of black men over the past two years.

The review in Milwaukee will look at issues such as use of force, the disciplinary system and diversity in hiring. The city was 45 percent white in the 2010 Census, while the police department is 68 percent white.

“Expectations of the report itself and of departmental compliance with the report are going to be raised,” said David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who studies police behavior.

There is skepticism of how Milwaukee authorities will respond to federal recommendations, after past responses fell short of demands.

Fred Royal, president of the NAACP’s Milwaukee branch, noted that the recommendations would not be legally binding, unlike those for cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, where police use of deadly force and other practices were being scrutinized under so-called consent decrees – settlements without a final ruling by a judge.

“They don’t have the teeth that a consent decree has,” Royal said.

Businesses were torched and gunfire erupted in Milwaukee after the shooting on Saturday of a black man, Sylville K. Smith, 23. Police said he refused to drop a handgun when he was killed, and on Monday, the city imposed a curfew.

“My experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has been that it is a department in desperate need of fundamental change,” said Flint Taylor, a Chicago civil rights lawyer who has sued Milwaukee over police tactics.

A spokesman for the Milwaukee Police Department said officials were not available for an interview. Police Chief Edward Flynn has said previously that his department has made progress and can withstand scrutiny. A Justice Department spokeswoman said officials there declined an interview request.

The Justice Department is expected to release its findings within about two months. Milwaukee could then receive outside assistance and monitoring for up to two years.

Making the challenge tougher are deep problems of poverty and segregation in Milwaukee, the 31st largest city in the United States. Milwaukee was ranked as the most segregated city in America by the Brookings Institution last year, and in the neighborhood where the rioting took place more than 30 percent of people live in poverty.

Residents have protested past police shootings, such as a 2014 killing in which an unarmed, mentally ill black man, Dontre Hamilton, was shot 14 times. An officer was dismissed but no one was charged.

In 2011, another black man, Derek Williams, died in the back of a Milwaukee police car after he told officers he could not breathe and needed help, according to a lawsuit his family filed. The city has not responded to the lawsuit.

And in January this year, Milwaukee officials approved a $5 million settlement with 74 black men who said they had been subjected to illegal strip and cavity searches.

Las Vegas, which volunteered for the same federal program after a series of shootings there in 2011, was handed a list of 75 findings and recommendations by the Justice Department, and 18 months later it had completed 90 percent of the recommendations, the department said. Philadelphia and San Francisco are among other cities under review.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Julia Harte in Washington; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou Contini and Grant McCool)

Calls for calm, curfew bring quieter night after Milwaukee riots

Police and community members stand in a park after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Calls for calm, curfew bring quieter night after Milwaukee riots sparked by the fatal shooting of a black man by a black police officer.

Sylville Smith, 23, was killed on Saturday afternoon after he was stopped for acting suspiciously and then fled. Authorities said he was carrying an illegal handgun and refused orders to drop it when he was shot.

Peaceful demonstrations in the Sherman Park area where Smith died turned into violent protests on Saturday and Sunday nights. Shots were fired, and some rioters torched businesses and police cars. Angry crowds pelted riot police with bottles and bricks.

Eight officers were wounded, and dozens of people were arrested, police said. One person suffered a gunshot wound.

But Monday night was much quieter after a citywide curfew for teenagers took effect at 10 p.m. (0300 GMT). Police said there were six arrests and no reports of major property damage.

“We think we are in, comparatively speaking, a positive place,” Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn told reporters as it became apparent the curfew was being respected. “We had folks from the community step forward to take a leadership role in reducing tensions.”

Milwaukee has become the latest U.S. city to be gripped by unrest after high-profile police killings of black men over the past two years. Many of the officers involved in the earlier shootings were white, however, and the victims were unarmed.

The city will become a focus of the U.S. presidential race later on Tuesday. Republican nominee Donald Trump plans to visit and film a town hall meeting with Fox News host Sean Hannity, raising the possibility of protests similar to those that have taken place outside some of the candidate’s campaign events elsewhere.

Famed for its breweries, Milwaukee is one of the most racially divided U.S. cities, with a black population plagued with high levels of unemployment that are absent in the mostly white suburbs.

Mayor Tom Barrett said on Monday that nightly curfews on teenagers would remain in place “for as long as necessary”.

Barrett has urged state officials to release a video of Smith’s shooting as soon as possible in hopes that, by corroborating the police department’s account, it would convince protesters that the use of deadly force was justified.

Barrett said he had not seen the video. Wisconsin state law requires police shootings be investigated by an independent state agency, which controls such evidence.

Flynn said on Sunday that the body camera video showed Smith was holding a gun and had turned toward the officer, and appeared to show that the officer acted within the law.

Because the audio from the video was delayed, the police chief said, it was unclear when the officer fired his weapon.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Milwaukee imposes curfew to quell rioting sparked by police shooting

A burned down gas station is seen after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – The city of Milwaukee imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on Monday in an attempt to quell rioting that erupted the previous two nights in response to the police shooting of an armed black man in one of the most segregated cities in the United States.

Mayor Tom Barrett also renewed his call for state officials to release a video of the Saturday night shooting in hopes it convinces angry protesters that deadly force against Sylville K. Smith, 23, was justified.

“There is a curfew that will be more strictly enforced tonight for teenagers,” Barrett told a news conference. “So parents, after 10 o’clock your teenagers better be home or in a place where they’re off the streets.”

Milwaukee has become the latest American city to be gripped by violence in response to police killings of black men in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore last year.

Famed for its breweries, Milwaukee is also one of the most segregated cities in America, with a large concentration of unemployed black men in the inner city separated from the mostly white suburbs.

Such inequality has afflicted many U.S. cities as a result of the loss of manufacturing jobs over the past three decades, sometimes stoking unrest when police use deadly force.

Police say Smith was stopped on Saturday afternoon for behaving suspiciously and that he then fled on foot between two homes. Smith was carrying a stolen handgun which he refused to drop when he was killed, police said.

The shooting led to a first night of protests over his death in which gunshots were fired, six businesses were torched and 17 people were arrested. Police reported four officers were injured and police cars were damaged before calm was restored.

On Sunday night, when police in riot gear faced off with protesters throwing bottles and bricks, four officers were injured and one other person suffered a gunshot wound, police said. Three police squad cars were damaged and 14 people were arrested, authorities said.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had activated the National Guard on Sunday in case more trouble flared, but despite the violence, police said the guardsmen were not called in.

This weekend’s shooting in Milwaukee was distinct in that the deceased was armed, according to the police account. The officer who fired the deadly shot was also black.

The mayor would like Wisconsin state officials to release the video to the public in order to corroborate the police account. State law requires all police shootings to be investigated by an independent state agency, giving the state control over such evidence.

“I want the video released. … I’m going to urge that it be released as quickly as possible,” said Barrett, who has yet to see it.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said on Sunday that video from the officer’s body camera showed Smith had turned toward the officer with a gun in his hand.

The video appeared to show the officer acting within the law, Flynn said, but because the audio was delayed it was unclear when the officer fired his weapon.

Police had stopped Smith’s car, leading to a chase on foot.

Police said Smith’s car was stopped because he was acting suspiciously, raising skepticism within largely African-American neighborhoods where people report racial discrimination from police. Smith also had a lengthy arrest record, officials said.

Asked at the news conference why officers had stopped the car on Saturday, Police Chief Edward Flynn said the officers had not been interviewed yet and that they would be interviewed later on Monday.

(Additional reporting David Ingram in New York; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by James Dalgleish)

One person shot, officer injured in second night of Milwaukee protests

A gas station is seen burned down after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Tension flared again overnight in Milwaukee, with one person shot and a police officer injured in the second night of riots triggered by the fatal shooting of a suspect by an officer.

Police violence against African-Americans has ignited sporadic, sometimes violent protests in the past two years. It also has prompted a national debate over race and policing while fuelling the growth of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement.

Violence erupted in Milwaukee on Sunday after peaceful vigils by small groups of demonstrators, and police said late that night that they had rescued one shooting victim, who was taken to a hospital. It was not immediately clear if the injured person was a protester.

One police officer was hospitalized after a rock smashed a patrol car windshield, the city police department said. Another squad car was damaged by rioters hurling bricks, rocks and bottles, it said, adding that officers made multiple arrests.

Police said they began trying to disperse crowds after shots were fired and some protesters threw objects. A tense standoff continued into the early morning hours, punctuated by intermittent reports of gunfire.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had activated the National Guard in case more trouble broke over the death of Sylville K. Smith, 23, who was shot while fleeing a traffic stop.

Despite the violence, police said the National Guard had not been called in, as authorities worked to restore order.

“WITHIN LAWFUL BOUNDS”

Aiming to reassure the community that the police acted properly, Chief Edward Flynn told a news conference on Sunday that video from the officer’s body camera showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand.

Earlier on Sunday evening, about 200 people had gathered to light candles near the spot where Smith was killed in the Sherman Park neighborhood. A few officers looked on as faith and community leaders implored protesters to restrain their anger.

“We are not ignorant and stupid people,” one pastor told the crowd, echoing a feeling among many of the city’s African-Americans that they are systematically mistreated.

“Every single person needs to be looked upon as human beings and not like savages and animals.”

On Saturday night, shots were fired, six businesses were burned and police cars damaged before calm was restored in the area, which has a reputation for poverty and crime. Seventeen people were arrested, and four officers were injured.

At the news conference with Mayor Tom Barrett, Flynn said the officer who fired the fatal shot was black, and media reports also identified Smith as black.

He said a silent video of the incident appeared to show the officer acting within the law. The officer had stopped Smith’s vehicle because the driver was behaving suspiciously and then had to chase him on foot into an enclosed space between two houses, Flynn said.

Because the audio was delayed, he said, it was not clear when the officer fired his weapon.

“I’m looking at a silent movie that doesn’t necessarily tell me everything that will come out in a thorough investigation,” Flynn said.

“Based on what I saw, didn’t hear, don’t know what the autopsy results are going to be, (the officer) certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds.”

Barrett said Smith did not drop the gun as ordered before he was shot.

The mayor said Smith had a lengthy arrest record, and officials had earlier said he was carrying a stolen handgun loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition when stopped.

“SHOT IN HIS BACK”

On Sunday evening, several of Smith’s sisters addressed the crowd, saying their brother did not deserve to be shot.

“My brother was no felon,” said one of them, Kimberly Neal, 24, as she wept. “My brother was running for his life. He was shot in his back.”

Walker announced the National Guard activation after a request from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. But Barrett said any decision to deploy the troops would come from the police chief.

The National Guard, which is under the dual control of the federal and state governments, was deployed in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 after several nights of rioting over the police killing of an unarmed black man.

This summer has brought deadly ambushes of police. Five officers were slain by a sniper in Dallas last month as they guarded an otherwise peaceful protest against police killings. A gunman killed three officers in Baton Rouge less than two weeks later.

Policing in Milwaukee has come under scrutiny since 2014, when a white officer killed Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill, unarmed black man, in an incident that sparked largely peaceful protests.

(Additional reporting by Chris Michaud and Laila Kearney and Daniel Wallis in New York and Julia Harte in Washington; Writing by Chris Michaud; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)