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UPDATE: Man Arrested for Shooting at Highlands Burglary Suspect

Officers chase suspect from Highlands into Washington Heights, where he scales a fence and interrupts a backyard party, drawing gunfire from an armed guest, who is now also under arrest.

By Jim Price for Patch; WISN 12 News reporter Nick Bohr contributed to this report:

A 45-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested after firing shots while chasing an 18-year-old burglary suspect in the 1600 block of North 59th Street shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Milwaukee man first fired rounds when the suspect entered his back yard while running from Wauwatosa police officers, according to a Milwaukee Police Department spokesman.

He then continued to fire shots while chasing the suspect into another yard, said MPD Lt. Mark Stanmeyer in a statement obtained by Patch’s media partners at WISN 12 News.

Milwaukee police expect to seek charges against the citizen through the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office but did not suggest what those charges might be.

Wauwatosa police arrested the 18-year-old burglary suspect after they chased him from the Washington Highlands into Milwaukee’s Washington Heights, where the citizen opened fire on the fleeing man, prompting his surrender.

Tosa police say the teenager is also a suspect in multiple other burglaries in the Washington Highlands area.

How it went down

According to citizen accounts now confirmed by both the Wauwatosa and Milwaukee police, the burglary suspect was spotted in the Highlands and led officers on a foot chase heading east.    

Just into Milwaukee, in the area of Washington Boulevard and North 59th Street, the suspect jumped a backyard fence. He found himself an unwelcome guest at a patio party at the residence, and one of the guests opened fire on him with a pistol.

The armed citizen fired four shots, according to accounts, missing the suspect but putting him in such fear for his life he immediately surrendered to police. The citizen was said to have a valid concealed carry permit.

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Wauwatosa Police Capt. Jeffrey Sutter confirmed that account of the incident was “reasonably accurate” and said the man arrested was a suspect in a number of recent burglaries in the Highlands and surrounding area.

On June 30 and July 14, both Sundays, as was this incident, homes in the Highlands were entered through unlocked doors while residents were home, and their cars were stolen when the burglar found the keys in their kitchens.

In the July 14 incident, a purse and contents and two cell phones were also stolen from the kitchen.

"As someone whose garage has been broken into, and bicycles and other belongings burglarized, I couldn’t be happier that this guy has finally been caught," said Highlands resident Maureen Mack. "I am grateful to my neighbors for being alert.

"Speaking as a private citizen, I hesitate to applaud the acts of the homeowner who fired the shots; this could have easily ended up in bloodshed of an innocent. Generally, looking down the barrel of a gun is enough to give someone pause."

There have been many other burglaries recently in the Highlands and adjoining neighborhoods, as well as several further south in the Jacobus Park neighborhood.

Police have not said as yet how many of those burglaries they believe could be associated with the suspect arrested Sunday night, but they specified that he was likely involved in at least some of the Highlands crimes.

Wauwatosa Patch will update the story as more details become available.    

Amanda July 22, 2013 at 04:53 PM
In light of the unarmed young men who have recently been shot and killed by armed older men, I am curious to hear the race of those involved in this incident. Shooting at the back of a fleeing, unarmed young man, burglar or not, is disgusting.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) July 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Police seek charges because they are too irrelevant to prevent crime in the first place.
jimspice July 22, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Shooting as someone is running away is not standing your ground, it is advancing.
Random Blog Commenter July 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Perhaps not the best judgment by the armed citizen, but the robber is the problem that should be our focus.
Jake July 22, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Yeah, clearly over the line on this one. Not someone that should have a concealed carry. Either he is too eager to take it out, or doesn't have the wherewithall to realize when to holster it once safe. This is how it should have read: "Area man forces burglar to lie on ground until police arrive." or "Burglar runs into the arms of police after fleeing yard with armed homeowner."
John July 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Shooter is a fool. Probably slept through his class. He broke the law and most likely will be picking up a felony and loosing his 2nd amendment rights. THAT SAID, that's WI law. In Texas it would be a good shoot. Personally given the way the thieves and youtes act around here, we NEED TEXAS laws. The criminals would be less likely to be pieces of filth.
Random Blog Commenter July 23, 2013 at 09:51 AM
"Shooting as someone is running away is not standing your ground, it is advancing. " You are correct, "stand your ground" does not apply in this case so I expect that you shall not be using it as a talking point regarding it.
Julie O'Keeffe Henszey July 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM
One focus of the complex gun control debate has been how to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who suffer from a mental illness. Now we are seeing individuals who exercise poor judgment. Is it necessary to keep guns out of their hands, too? If someone comes into our kitchen through an unlocked back door and grabs a laptop, does that person lose his right to live? What if he makes a grimacing face and the home owner feels threatened? It's possible the homeowner will pull the trigger out of fear. All of this is unfortunate. (Side note: Brain research shows that fear shuts down our ability to see options and think broadly.)
Michael July 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM
no burglar being chased, no shots being fired. Kudos to the shooter.
Lex Parsimoniae July 23, 2013 at 01:05 PM
I'm certain this will get plenty of coverage in our local "media outlets", being one of the few (if not the first) documented, irresponsible uses of a firearm by a WI CCL holder, during the first year and a half of this law being passed. Meanwhile, over 3% of the >21yr old population of Wisconsin have been responsibly exercising their 2nd amendment rights (with a CCL) with no mention of such, or maybe a blurb on page 5-section 3. I am not condoning this man's actions, the rules on this are pretty straight forward. Castle Doctrine is not exactly "Stand your Ground". You can't shoot at someone simply because they run into your yard, and you certainly can't shoot at them if they are running away from you.
Jake July 23, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Lex: Agreed. It would be very wise for the proponents of CC to condemn this for what it is, a complete irresponsible use of the right. Julie: My thoughts as well. I don't own a firearm, but if I did, I would feel well within my right to shoot at someone in my house if I felt in danger. However, I hope my first thought would be to gather my family, lock a bedroom door, and call the police. Nobody should die for stealing. Let's just hope these incidents are few and far between, as they seem to be. The last thing I need to worry about is my kids taking out the trash at night getting hit by my wacko neighbor's stray bullet.
Tosa Lover July 23, 2013 at 01:22 PM
As a Highlands resident who was a victim of a recent break in, I'm glad this person was caught, however, I'm not foolish enough to think this is the end of it. We now keep all our doors and windows locked (which they were when the break in occurred) our alarm is always on and we are very aware of who is coming and going in our neighborhood. We hope our neighbors are vigilant as well. It is sad one has to live in fear here in Wauwatosa - or anywhere for that matter.
Random Blog Commenter July 23, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Tosa Lover....good points. It is a shame that crime right now is ruining all the good things happening in our city. If one does not feel safe, it doesn't matter how many fun restaurants are located in the city.
Dirk Gutzmiller July 23, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Armed homeowner or armed guest? The news story seems to conflict on this. Could make some difference in the type and degree of criminal charges. Coincidence that this happened shortly after the Zimmerman verdict, or was the shooter emboldened by it?
BleedingHeart617 July 23, 2013 at 05:05 PM
For the record, Wisconsin doesn't have "stand your ground" laws yet. Anyone who can get a gun and a permit should have to go to a target range weekly. I mean really, what is the point of shooting and missing?
jbw July 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Guess I missed the part in the concealed carry documents and classes where they tell you to shoot up your neighbor's home in an attempt to murder an unarmed man running away from you. There is absolutely no possible way that could have ended well.

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