City News

As officials target violence, city sees four gun-related incidents in three days

Weapons violations in Madison spiked the second week of October, with one incident last week involving what appeared to be a semi-automatic gun.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Madison police responded to at least four weapons violations across the city within the past three days. The incidents came amid renewed conversations between city officials on how to curb violence in the area.

On Sunday, a driver fired several rounds into the air at the intersection of John Nolen Drive and Williamson Street before driving away, according to Madison Police Department Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain. Earlier that day, bystanders reported a downtown food cart employee leaving his cart while brandishing what appeared to be a semi-automatic firearm.

One day earlier — Oct. 7 — MPD officers responded to several calls of shots fired on Madison’s North side, at the intersection of Commercial Avenue and Kedzie Street. And on Oct. 9, shots were reportedly fired on the west side of Madison on Schroeder Road.

Minor injuries were reported in the downtown shooting while no injuries or casualties were found in the other reports. MPD investigations into all four incidents are ongoing.

The first of those calls came hours after city officials held a roundtable on its Rapid Response violence prevention initiative. At the roundtable, one deputy mayor described how the city has come to understand the need for prompt, short-term action.

“We really wanted to go towards long-term solutions,” said Gloria Reyes, deputy mayor for Public Safety, Civil Rights and Community Services. “But we realized that we needed to do something right away.”

The city has turned to more immediate aid for those involved in shots-fired incidents, Reyes said. Over the summer, the city approved $50,000 in funding for the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation and the Focused Interruption Coalition. Since then, those organizations have been providing access to counseling services and other medical resources for victims and their families.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin commended the efforts of city’s Rapid Response initiative but said he is dissatisfied with long-term approaches to violence prevention. Among continued funding for the Rapid Response initiative, Soglin’s 2018 budget provides funding for the city’s Department of Public Health to hire two new employees whose task will be to devise a data-driven crime prevention strategy.

The budget is currently under review by the city’s Finance Committee. The Common Council will meet twice before voting on the budget Nov. 13. 

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