Following the police shooting of African-American Jacob Blake, at least two people were killed and one injured after shots were fired at the protest site in Kenosha, Wisconsin late Tuesday after the third consecutive night of protests.
The gunmen opened fire at about 11:45 pm, Kenosha police’s Public Information Officer, Lt. Joseph Nosalik, said in a news release, according to an AP report. The injured person sustained serious but not life threatening injuries and is undergoing treatment at a local hospital, Nosalik added. The incident is currently being investigated.
Neither the victims, nor the shooters have been identified as yet. Local media reports claim that the shooting occurred during a violent standoff between protesters and armed gunmen, who were guarding a gas station, BBC reported.
The protests began hours after Blake was shot by the police on Sunday. A huge mob of angry demonstrators marched towards the Kenosha police headquarters, setting cars ablaze, smashing windows and clashing with officers dressed in riot gear.
Blake is currently undergoing treatment after being shot by police at least seven times earlier this week. While the details of the incident are vague, footage of the incident shows the 29-year-old African American leaning into a car, before an officer grabbed him by the shirt and opened fire. All seven shots can be heard in the video, along with the screams of his three young children, who were seated in the car at the time, BBC reported.
Police claim that the incident occurred when they had arrived at the site after receiving a complaint about a domestic issue. Blake’s lawyers have said that he was trying to “de-escalate a domestic incident” when the police intervened and later shot him.
Here are the top developments from the Wisconsin protests:
‘It’s going to take a miracle for him to walk again,’ says Blake’s attorney
The seven bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord and shattered his vertebrae, leaving him paralysed, according to his family attorney Ben Crump. The 29-year-old was undergoing surgery, but it would “take a miracle for Blake to walk again, Crump said on Tuesday during a press release, AP reported.
Due to the bullet wounds, Blake also had holes in his stomach, an arm injury, and damage to his kidney and liver, BBC reported. Tremendous damage was also caused to his colon and small intestine, due to which the vital internal organs had to be removed, his lawyers said.
“His family believe in miracles, but the medical diagnosis right now is that he is paralysed and, because those bullets severed his spinal cord and shattered some of his vertebrae, it is going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again,” Crump told reporters on Tuesday.
BLM protestors chase man who was seen with gun-toting group
While it is still unclear who incited the violence near the intersection on 63rd Street and Sheridan in Kenosha, where two people were fatally shot and one was severely injured, several videos shared online show a group of Black Lives Matter protesters running after a man carrying a gun, the Guardian reported.
Extended footage of the shooting in Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/oBG6UgT0Fs
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 26, 2020
“He just shot somebody,” protesters are heard calling out in the videos. The man was allegedly part of a gun toting group that had positioned itself near a gas station. Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the police had reviewed the video footage and would soon arrest at least one person, believed to be involved in the shooting.
“I feel very confident we’ll have him in a very short time,” he said.
Wisconsin Governor declares state of emergency
After businesses were vandalised and buildings were set ablaze in a second day of protests after Blake was shot by police, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency, adding that he would deploy more state National Guard troops to contain the violence, Reuters reported.
Evers said that he would scale up the number of Wisconsin National Guard soldiers from 100 to 250. His announcement came as several officials called for peace in the city of Kenosha after a night of sustained violence.
“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue,” Evers said, according to a Bloomberg report. “We also cannot continue going down this path of damage and destruction.”
Jacob Blake included in opening prayer on second night of RNC 2020
The opening prayer at the very beginning of the second night of the Republican National Convention 2020, included a line about Jacob Blake. During the opening prayer, delivered by Reverend Norma Urrabazo, viewers were invited to pray for Jacob Blake’s recovery as well as for police officers working towards restoring order on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 26, 2020
Urrabazo prayed for the “spirit of peace to come over hurting communities in Wisconsin tonight. We pray for healing and comfort to Jacob Blake and his family,” the Hill reported.
‘Jacob would be unpleased to see violence in city,’ says Blake’s mother
Members of Blake’s family called for justice but also condemned the violence that had broken out in the city of Kenosha in the last three days, the Guardian reported.
“As I was riding through this city, I noticed a lot of damage. It does not reflect my son or my family. If Jacob knew what was going on as far as … the violence and destruction, he would be very unpleased,” Blakes’ mother Julia Jackson said.
Blakes’ father was inconsolable while he described the trauma faced by his three young grandchildren, who were made to watch as their father was shot by the police. “They shot my son at least seven times like he doesn’t matter. But my son matters. He is a human being and he matters,” he said.
(With inputs from Reuters, BBC, The Guardian, AP)