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Public reacts to Friday night shootings near Fiserv Forum

Susan Bence
Jalen Cook-Carter and Johnny Pettigrew gathered with friends near the Deer District to watch Sunday's Bucks game.

Sunday was a disappointing day for the Milwaukee Bucks and their fans. The team lost the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals to the Boston Celtics.

More devastating was the violence that erupted two nights earlier within blocks of the Fiserv Forum. Twenty-one people were injured.

While the Deer District stood silent Sunday afternoon, people gathered at nearby restaurants and bars to watch the game.

Andrew Patanapaiboon was just finishing up a brisk walk with his dog and was heading home to watch the game Sunday afternoon. Friday evening, he was in the crowd inside Fiserv Forum.

“I was at the game and walked out of there and it was like people on the street out loitering, with their own alcohol and playing their own music, it was just like a big party,” Patanapaiboon said.

Patanapaiboon described the scene as a powder keg ready to explode. “The cops can’t really do anything because they’re understaffed,” he said.

Patanapaiboon has lived downtown for a decade and loves it. “We love walking around. I always feel safe, but like any situation, if you see it going bad, it’s on you to get out of that situation,” he said.

Patanapaiboon has definite opinions about needs to be done to avoid what happened last Friday: “You’ve got to block off all of this area at least four blocks out — no cars allowed. People have to keep moving. You should be in a line in a bar, or you should be in a bar or walking to a bar, if you're down here. There’s no other reason that you’re down here. You shouldn't be loitering the streets."

Susan Bence
A small crowd gathered near the Deer District for Sunday's game.

Bob Fenwick doesn’t live anywhere close to downtown Milwaukee.

He’s from Scotland and stopped here on holiday. “I like it. I was in Chicago, I liked it as well,” Fenwick said.

But Fenwick called the violence situation here dreadful. “In the U.K. there's not as much shooting and when you do it hits national (news). Here it’s like an everyday occurrence. It's absolutely dreadful. The NRA (National Rifle Association) holds far too much power here,” he said

Fenwick’s advise — ban the guns.

Not far from the Deer District, Jalen Cook-Carter was about to watch the Bucks game with some friends . Cook-Carter is distressed about the shootings.

“It’s not a good look, for one. We don’t want to be known for something like that. It made ESPN so that's not a great look for the city. And we just need to come together as a city whether it’s the Bucks or the Brewers or whatever movement it is, education, whatever it is, we should come together and focus on our unity as a city and how unique we are as a city instead of our differences and settle that stuff in a friendly manner,” he said.

Cook-Carter said change can come by focusing on youth. “I’m 23, so my age group too, but even younger. It starts down there and it starts with parenting at home, the school systems, learning more about how you can better yourself and get ready for an adult career and adult jobhood. That’s pretty much where it starts, it starts with the youth. That's the future of Milwaukee," he said.

Cook-Carter met his friend Johnny Pettigrew at the fire academy. “We're here to celebrate, we ain't here to start no drama or get into anything. We just want to watch the game, support, be around everybody else who likes to support and just have a good time, to like make memories of," Pettigrew said.

Susan Bence
Casey Mullins says she was never afraid to be in downtown Milwaukee; now she plans only to spend time there during the day.

Casey Mullins looks out at the deserted Deer District. “It’s just sad — there are no words — why would anyone want to ruin it for us. It was so much fun last year and ... when we walked up, it was sad because no one was here,” Mullins said.

Mullins lives on the southside but works downtown. "I’ve never not felt safe around here but I feel like, I’ll come here during the daytime and not at night. It’s so sad because look at this place – how cool it is, how cool it could be," she said.

Mullins has no idea how to solve gun violence. She asked, "Do you?"

At the time this story was produced, the Milwaukee Police Department had not released motives for the multiple shootings.

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