Wauwatosa, WI – An armed 17-year-old was shot by Wauwatosa police late Tuesday night after he allegedly ran at officers with a gun and refused to comply with their commands to stop.
The incident began in the 9100-block of West Congress Street at approximately 10:50 p.m. on April 5, when two Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD) officers spotted a vehicle that had been reported as stolen out of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Police later discovered that the vehicle was recovered by a family member after it was reported as stolen, but that no one bothered to call law enforcement to let them know it had been located, WPD Chief James MacGillis said on Wednesday.
Since the recovery of the vehicle hadn’t been reported to the police, “the vehicle was still listed as stolen” when the officers spotted it, Chief MacGillis explained.
“It was still listed as a stolen vehicle when officers observed the vehicle and they ran the plate, it came back still listed as stolen,” the chief told reporters, according to WISN. “How are we supposed to know if the public doesn’t let us know that they recovered their own vehicle? And I’m not trying to cast blame here by any means.”
The officers watched the vehicle pull into an alley near north 92nd Street and attempted to make contact with the 17-year-old driver, who was alone in the car, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
But as they approached, the teen jumped out of the vehicle with a gun and ran towards them, ignoring their commands, according to police.
Both officers fired their duty weapons, striking the suspect, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The teen was rushed to a local hospital and is expected to survive his wounds, according to police.
Neither of the officers was injured during the encounter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“I wish the family and the subject involved a very quick recovery,” Chief MacGillis said. “Again, it’s a terrible set of circumstances. I’m just glad everybody is alive today.”
Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is being investigated, as per policy.
One of the officers involved in the incident is 30 years old with five years on the job, while the other is 34 years old and has been with the WPD for more than eight years.
It is unclear whether or not the suspect pointed his gun at police or fired at them during the encounter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The number of rounds fired by officers has also not been released.
Chief MacGillis said the officers’ dashcam and bodycams were recording during the confrontation, but that the footage will not be released while the investigation is ongoing, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“I have to protect the integrity of the investigation,” the chief told reporters on Wednesday.
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride said the officer-involved shooting was “unfortunate” and that no one in the WPD or city of Wauwatosa “wanted this to happen,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“We have a serious problem with crime in the greater Milwaukee area, with stolen cars and with too many guns on the streets,” the mayor added.
Chief MacGillis expressed frustration that the suspect had been able to obtain a firearm in the first place, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“Why does a 17-year-old have a firearm in their hand?” the chief asked. “Why does that happen? They’re endangering their own lives, they are endangering the lives of my officers and the community and this has to stop.”
The Milwaukee Police Department is handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting, WITI reported.