Kenosha, WI – Police apprehended a caravan of vehicles and arrested nine people who were allegedly on their way to riot in Kenosha on Wednesday night.
Police said the occupants of the vehicles were taken into custody because they “were preparing for criminal activity related to the civil unrest,” WITI reported.
Kenosha police received a tip on Aug. 26 that several suspicious vehicles with out-of-state license plates had met up in a remote lot near Highway 50 and Green Bay Road, KSTP reported.
Kenosha police, Kenosha County sheriff’s deputies, and U.S. Marshals located the suspect vehicles set up surveillance on them.
Police said the vehicles – a black school bus, a bread truck, and a tan minivan – drove to a gas station near Washington Road and 30th Avenue, KSTP reported.
Officers watched the occupants of the vehicles get out and fill up multiple fuel cans, leading them to suspect the individuals were preparing to commit crimes in connection with the recent riots in Kenosha.
“The officers exited their vehicles, identified themselves, were wearing appropriate identification and then detained the occupants of the bus and bread truck,” police said, according to WITI.
But while police were able to detain the occupants of the black-painted school bus and the bread truck, the minivan fled the scene.
The minivan was stopped by police later on and after officers’ forced entry, the occupants were arrested, too, WITI reported.
Police said officers found helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks, and suspected controlled substances, among other things, inside the vehicles.
Officers arrested nine people on probable cause disorderly conduct while they awaited charging decisions by the Kenosha County Attorney’s Office, KTSP reported.
Federal law enforcement agents and more Wisconsin National Guard members were deployed to Kenosha on Wednesday in response to pleas from local officials following three nights of violent riots.
On Tuesday night, two people were killed and a third person was wounded as countless businesses were looted and burned all over Kenosha.
The bloodshed came on the third night of violent riots in the city sparked by the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake by the Kenosha police, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Blake was shot in front of his girlfriend’s home on Sunday by Kenosha police after resisting arrest.
Officials have said that the mother of three of Blake’s children had called 911 and reported that he was at her house and had taken her keys.
Blake was already wanted on charges in connection with the rape and domestic abuse of the same woman in May.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a statement that Blake fought with police and was Tased by two different officers, but the less-lethal weapon failed to control the suspect.
He admitted he was in possession of a knife and then ran from officers to the front of his car.
The city exploded in riots after cell phone video of only part of the encounter went viral and appeared to show a Kenosha officer shooting Blake in the back seven times as he leaned into his SUV.
A knife was found inside the car after the shooting, according to DCI.
On Friday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told reporters at a press conference that some of the rioters arrested earlier in the week were still locked up because they had refused to provide identification or could not make bond.
He refused to answer any questions regarding the Blake shooting specifically and told reporters that he hasn’t even watched the two cell phone videos of the incident.
Sheriff Beth has faced criticism for law enforcement officers who appeared to be helping and thanking militia members who were at the riots helping to protect businesses.
The sheriff told reporters that the deputies seen in the armored vehicle passing out water to militia members were not from Kenosha County.
He said authorities were aware there were militia members in the crowd during the protests in Kenosha but that there wasn’t anything anybody could have done about it.
“The fact that they were out there isn’t against the law,” Sheriff Beth explained.