Shooting near Deer District, witnesses detail ‘chaos’

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Milwaukee police said three people were shot and wounded just outside the Deer District after Friday night’s Milwaukee Bucks playoff game.

When fans started hearing shots near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Highland Avenue, many started sprinting. Some left strollers and other items behind to get out of the area as quickly as possible.

“This was our first watch party this playoff run, and we’re done,” said Lauren Malecki.

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The night was not supposed to end that way. Less than 12 hours after the chaos unfolded, Malecki and Adam Schmidt returned to the area to get the stuff the dropped as they ran.

“We were walking back to the car and there were two or three gunshots, and we just started running,” Schmidt said.

Scene after shooting outside Deer District on Friday, May 13.

“He grabbed my hand, and we started running, and I got trampled over,” Malecki said. “That’s why my glasses went flying, but you just got to keep running because everyone was running into each other. It’s just chaos.”

By the Bucks’ count, the Deer District hit its 11,000-person maximum capacity Friday. While there is security for the plaza, people reportedly ran over gates to get in once capacity was reached.

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“We walked out of the Punch Bowl (Social) and everyone started running, and me and my boyfriend walked out and there was an active shooter,” said Brittany Bergstrom. “It happened right next to my head. My boyfriend pulled me behind this brick wall, and if he wouldn’t have this outcome would have been a lot different.”

Fans who started their Friday night excited for the city said they are ending their weekend with a more somber outlook.

“I don’t think we would come back for another watch party or game. It’s just getting out of hand,” Schmidt said.

“Milwaukee needs to do better. You always have to take something fun and ruin it, so it’s really disheartening to see and people bring their families,” said Malecki. “It’s just really sad.” 

Scene after shooting outside Deer District on Friday, May 13.

A 19-year-old man was arrested, police said. The victims were a 29-year-old man, 26-year-old man and 16-year-old girl.

The Milwaukee Bucks have canceled the Deer District watch party for Sunday’s series-deciding Game 7 against the Boston Celtics.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson issued a limited emergency order Saturday for the city’s entertainment district, setting a curfew for those under the age of 21.

The curfew applies to anyone in that age group near the Deer District and the Water Street bar district starting at 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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