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UPDATE: Police identify two arrested following park shooting

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Acting Police Chief Vic Wahl
Vic Wahl on gun violence

Multiple people were hurt in a shooting in Madison's Garner Park overnight. Interim Police Chief Vic Wahl is speaking about the shooting and recent rise in gun violence. https://on.wkow.com/3kgtsjN

Posted by WKOW 27 on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

UPDATE (WKOW) -- Madison police have released the names of the two men arrested following a shooting Tuesday night at Garner Park, however investigators do not have any information currently that the two were involved in the gunfire.

Jumanji E. Bridges, 23, Fitchburg, was arrested faces several charges, including possession of a firearm by a felon.

Emmanual F. Hunter, 24, Madison, was arrested and faces a probation violation.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Acting Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl on Wednesday said the gunfire last night at a celebration of life in a Madison park was not random.

Three people were injured by gunfire during the gathering at Garner Park in memory of recent homicide victim Maurice Bowman, who was killed in a shooting on Madison's west side last month.

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference from the park where the shooting took place, Wahl said it looked like it was a planned event from the suspects.

A total of 63 spent shell casings were found in the area from multiple different guns. Police continued searching the area Wednesday afternoon.

Multiple weapons were used, including what police believe was an AK-47 style weapon, based on the shell casings found at the scene, a police spokesperson said.

"If someone is intent on engaging in retaliatory action, there's going to be opportunity for it," Wahl said.

Wahl also called on community leaders to speak out on the recent gun violence in the community.

"The gun violence that we're seeing here in Madison is at an unprecedented level," Wahl said. "This level of gun violence is something we should not accept in our community."

Police officers were monitoring the event after receiving a noise complaint, and responded as soon as gunshots were heard around 9 p.m.

As officers rushed in, they could see muzzle flashes, Wahl said.

Police believe the suspects approached the pavilion and began shooting, and some in the crowd returned fire.

MPD said two arrests have been made. Charges include in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana and one was arrested for an outstanding warrant.

Police said more than 300 people had gathered in the park, including families and children.

"Screams," neighbor William Shepard says of what he heard when the gunfire began. "I could hear a woman screaming, 'No, no,' repeatedly," he says. "Then heard rounds, shots being fired."

Wahl said police weren't aware of the event ahead of time, and that when they arrived he didn't think the best approach would have been to try to enforce the governor's public health order limiting the size of gatherings.

"I think we need to be following the direction of Dane County Public Health," Madison City Councilperson Arvina Martin says. Garner Park is in her aldermanic district. "But at the same time mourning is really important and the people who were here were celebrating a life of someone they cared about and needed to grieve," she says.

Bowman's homicide remains unsolved, and authorities say it may have been part of gang warfare. Wahl rejects the notion a crowd of the size that gathered Tuesday for the victim represented an invitation for retaliation.

"If people choose to gather, memorialize their friends or their family members, that's their right to do," Wahl says. "It's not up to me to tell them not to do that because there could be retaliation."

Neighbor Jeff Blank says he went by the life celebration earlier in the evening and saw nothing amiss. Blank says when gun shots rang out, people raced to his backyard. "Just trying to put something solid between them and the shooting," Blank says.

As of Wednesday morning, three gunshot victims sought treatment at local hospitals. An additional two victims received injuries not related to the shooting.

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