Sheriff: 3 dead, 2 wounded in shooting at Wisconsin tavern

National and World News

Investigators confer during an investigation outside the Somers House Tavern, in Kenosha, Wis., Sunday morning, April 18, 2021. Authorities say several people were killed and a few were seriously wounded in a shooting early Sunday at the tavern in Kenosha County in southeastern Wisconsin. (Deneen Smith/The Kenosha News via AP)

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Three people were killed and two were seriously wounded in a shooting at a busy tavern in southeastern Wisconsin early Sunday, sheriff’s officials said.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said the suspect in the shooting at Somers House Tavern in Kenosha County is still at large, but that he believes the public is not in danger.

“We believe our suspect knew who he was targeting,” Beth said during a Sunday morning news conference. He asked that anyone with information about the shooting contact the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department. Kenosha is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Milwaukee, not far from the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

The suspect had been asked to leave the bar, but returned and opened fire. Beth said shots were fired inside and outside the bar, which he described as “very busy” at the time. He left open the possibility that there was more than one suspect. He said he believed at least one handgun was used.

Officials were still working to determine the identities of the people who died. Beth said two people died at the scene. The third person hopped in a car with two other people, who moments later flagged down a police vehicle. The officer drove the victim to a hospital where that person was pronounced dead, Beth said.

The two people who were shot and wounded were taken to area hospitals. There may have been more people with less serious injuries, and the sheriff’s department has contacted local hospitals to find them, Beth said.

He said investigators are reviewing surveillance video from the scene. The tavern installed video cameras a couple of years ago, Beth said, but he didn’t know if the surveillance video is from the business.

Sgt. David Wright, sheriff’s department spokesman, said authorities are gathering evidence and are waiting for “tips and other information” before they release more details.

A man who lives near the bar, Peter Ploskee, told WLS-TV that he heard gun shots, looked out a window and saw “people running from the bar in every direction.”

“It was just chaos,” he said. “People are just running, people screaming.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called it a “senseless tragedy” and said he and his wife are “thinking of the families and loved ones affected and the entire Kenosha community as they grieve and grapple with yet another tragic incident of gun violence.”

It was the latest in a recent string of shootings across the country, including the killings of eight people at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Thursday. Last month, four people were killed at an office shooting in California, eight people were fatally shot at massage businesses in the Atlanta area, and 10 died in gunfire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

The nearby city of Kenosha was the scene of serious unrest last summer, after police shot a young Black man, Jacob Blake, leaving him paralyzed. A white Illinois teenager was accused of fatally shooting two people during the Kenosha protests. Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch is charged with homicide and attempted homicide in the Aug. 25 shootings. He has pleaded not guilty and says he fired in self-defense.

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