Milwaukee police find 5 dead in house; suspect in custody

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Police found five people shot to death Monday inside a Milwaukee home and arrested the man who dialed 911 to report the slayings, the city’s police chief said.

The police department received a call around 10:30 a.m. from a man who said his family was dead, Chief Alfonso Morales said during a brief news conference. When officers arrived at the house on the city’s north side they found five victims ranging in age from 14 to 41, the chief said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at the house that a baby was found alive in the house. Investigators believe the shooter decided to spare the infant.

Morales said investigators recovered a weapon and believe the shooter acted alone, adding that that there’s no threat to the public.

The man who called authorities to the house has been taken into custody, and detectives were trying to determine the relationship between the caller and the victims, Morales said. No names have been provided.

Morales called the shooting “a very tragic event.”

The Journal Sentinel, citing three unidentified police sources, reported the suspect was a 43-year-old Milwaukee man with a lengthy criminal record in Milwaukee County.

Online court records show he was convicted in 2002 of misdemeanor battery. He was sentenced to probation, ordered to attend domestic abuse counseling and prohibited from possessing firearms.

He pleaded guilty in 2007 to felony battery, felony bail jumping and felony intimidation of a witness. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, prohibited from possessing firearms and ordered to complete a batterers’ intervention course.

Five years later, in 2012, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery with a domestic abuse modifier, and drew 18 months in prison with another gun ban. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and was sentenced to a month in jail with work-release privileges.

The state Department of Workforce Development filed a warrant against him in 2016 seeking $13,304 in unemployment compensation that still hasn’t been paid. The online records don’t offer any further details. DWD spokesman Ben Jedd said such cases are confidential under state law.

Asked for confirmation of the suspect’s identity and more details on the shooting, Milwaukee Police spokeswoman Sheronda Grant said only that the department “will provide additional information regarding this incident in the upcoming days.”

The attack is the second mass shooting in Milwaukee this year. Molson Coors brewery worker Anthony Ferrill gunned down five co-workerson Feb. 26 before turning his gun on himself. His motive remains unknown.

White supremacist Wade Michael Page killed seven people at a Sikh temple in suburban Oak Creek before a police officer killed him in a firefight in 2012. That incident is the worst mass shooting in the Milwaukee area since 2005, when Terry Michael Ratzmann killed seven fellow congregants at the Living Church of God in suburban Brookfield before killing himself. Prosecutors never determined an exact motive, although they said he blamed the church for his depression and financial problems.

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Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1

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