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VA Police Fatally Shoot Gunman At Milwaukee Veterans Hospital

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Chuck Quirmbach
/
WUWM
Police outside of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center on Monday evening.

Updated Thursday at 7:33 a.m. CT

A man armed with a shotgun was killed by VA police as he tried to enter a Milwaukee veterans hospital, according to Department of Veterans Affairs officials.

The man was stopped by VA police outside an entrance to the Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center in Milwaukee at about 8:40 p.m. on Monday. Police ordered him to drop his gun, but he refused and threatened police, who fired multiple shots, authorities said.

He was taken to the hospital's emergency department, where he died, officials said. No one else was injured.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office lists the person who died as a 35-year-old Black man. And, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and at least two television stations have reported the man's name as Joseph W. Denton. Details about why he was at the hospital haven't been released. The VA said the man was not a veteran.

The VA has not disclosed the names or race of the officers who encountered Denton. The Milwaukee Police Department is investigating the shooting.

Police temporarily closed entrances to the federally run health care facility, which sits on 245 acres on Milwaukee’s west side. Besides the hospital, the property also includes a nursing home and a domiciliary for inpatient substance abuse and psychiatric rehabilitation.

The VA, nationally, has had its own police force for decades. The journalism website The Intercept posted an article last year documenting criticism of the VA police.

VA facilities have been the sites of shootings elsewhere. On Monday, an Army veteran who was convicted of shooting and wounding two people inside a Florida veterans clinic last year was committed to a mental health care facility for 25 years.

In January, VA police at a hospital in Dallas fatally shot a man who came to the facility and threatened them with a knife.

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