Weekend shooting at State Street Brats raises downtown safety concerns

Following the latest shooting incident early Saturday morning at State Street Brats, the downtown Madison area may no longer be considered immune from citywide gang violence, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.

“One of the things that I’ve been able to say very honestly to people over the last few years when they ask me about gang violence in downtown Madison is that we really don’t have to worry about it too much,” Verveer said. “Well, unfortunately that is no longer the case.”

The State Street Brats incident, in which a 25-year-old Madison woman was accidentally struck by a bullet to the rear thigh, is the second downtown restaurant shooting in the last two months.

The first incident, in which a weapon was fired outside JD’s Restaurant in March, did not result in any gunshot wounds, though one victim did sustain minor battery injuries, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.

“The reality is that only by sheer dumb luck, somebody wasn’t more seriously injured or even killed Friday night at Brats,” Verveer said. “It is just one of several shots fired [incidents] that occurred in Madison on Saturday.”

In total, there were four “weapons violation” incident reports, according to MPD. There were two reports from Madison’s east side and one report from Madison’s west side in addition to State Street. While no injuries resulted from either incident on the east side, a 28-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound during the incident on Madison’s west side.

Both Saturday morning’s and March’s incidents are believed to have been perpetrated by parties that knew each other and have resulted in harm to bystanders, Verveer said.

“Of course, it’s outrageous that a young woman who was dancing with her friends and minding her own business was struck by this bullet,” Verveer said, in reference to the State Street shooting.

Verveer recalled how he met with State Street Brats owner Kelly Meuer the night of the shooting, citing Meuer’s concern for his patrons and employees alike. They discussed safety suggestions, including discontinuing DJ nights and implementing a dress code to deter gang members.

Meanwhile, officers of Madison Police Department are working continuously to make arrests in relation to the disturbance.

“The city is taking these incidents extremely seriously,” Verveer said. “Cops have been working to try to solve all these recent shootings, but especially the Brats shooting, around the clock.”

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