A 27-year-old Wauwatosa man is facing charges after he allegedly threatened his brother with a knife and then Thursday afternoon that shut down part of Capitol Drive.
Eronzo Terrell Lawrence was charged Friday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with one count of disorderly conduct with use of a dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint and police reports:
At 12:25 p.m. Thursday, officers were sent to an apartment building in the 9500 block of West Capitol Drive after his mother reported that Lawrence had armed himself with a kitchen knife and was threatening to kill his 19-year-old brother.
Officers shut down the road and Lawrence was taken into custody after a standoff that ended at 1:53 p.m.
His younger brother said Lawrence had been upset with their mother because he lent her money to pay her electric bill, and she didn’t pay him back. So he began to grab televisions, video game systems and whatnot so he could go pawn them, according to his brother.
When he told his older brother to leave the property alone, Lawrence grabbed a knife and threatened to kill him, the teenager said.
Lawrence later admitted to police to taking up a knife but denied threatening his brother, saying it was “for protection” in case any of his brother’s friends showed up.
The younger brother left the apartment and called his mother, who called police, leaving Lawrence in the apartment with his two children, a 3-year-old daughter and a 5- or 6-year-old son (reports differ).
Lawrence did not answer the door or the phone, so police, fearing for the safety of the two young children, called in a Special Response Team including a hostage negotiator.
Lawrence still did not respond to banging on the apartment door or repeated calls on the phone, even though surrounded by police snipers.
He would tell police later that he was unaware of their presence because he was playing a video game with headphones on.
Be that as it may, he eventually did pick up the phone, claimed he didn't know police had been trying to reach him, and said he didn't know why he should come out and surrender since he didn't know why they were there.
After a 6½-minute conversation with the police hostage negotiator, he finally went to the door, expecting to find that officer. Instead, he found heavily armed and armored officers in the hallway right outside his door.
"Why are you pointing a gun at me?" he said into the phone, to which the negotiator, who was well outside the building, replied, "What are you talking about?"
Standing in the doorway, being ordered to surrender on the spot, Lawrence still told officers he wouldn't come out, and so one of them grabbed him. Lawrence resisted, "lowering his weight and turning" back into the apartment, so the officer followed suit, pushing Lawrence from behind into a wall of the flat and pinning him, where he and another officer quickly handcuffed him.
Having secured Lawrence, police immediately looked to the safety of the kids.
"The two children were both in the living room playing a video game," an officer wrote. "They appeared to be in good spirits and uninjured."
"That's just my family," the younger brother told a Patch reporter after Lawrence was in custody.
"It was not as serious as we thought," said a Wauwatosa police detective.
Lawrence is being held in Milwaukee County Jail while awaiting trial.