‘Every family’s worst nightmare’: Mayor decries recent gun violence after child shot in head, critically injured

MADISON, Wis. — Madison police said a child was critically injured Tuesday morning during a shooting on Madison’s east side.

Officers were dispatched to the area of E. Washington Ave. near Lexington Ave. around 11:45 a.m. for reports of shots fired.

An 11-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to the hospital.

“This is every family’s worst nightmare. This was the result of an absolutely senseless and unacceptable act,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said during a news conference with police.

“These incidents of gun violence are the acts of a few — a few people who are trying to settle scores and are willing to put other innocent lives in danger again and again,” Rhodes-Conway said. “It has to stop, and it has to stop now. ”

#LIVE: The Madison Police Department is holding a news conference in front of the City Council Building with an update on this morning's shooting. https://bit.ly/3kA0prw

Posted by News 3 Now / Channel 3000 on Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Officers said multiple shots were fired from one vehicle to another during Tuesday’s shooting. Police believe the man driving the 11-year-old was the intended target. They said he has a connection to her family and was watching over her for the day.

An occupied home and uninvolved car were also struck during the shooting.

“There is a massive amount of gunfire going on in the streets, and it’s really something none of us should find acceptable,” Wahl said. ” This cannot be OK. This can’t be something we, the city or community accept.”

Wahl said while calling the violence part of an ongoing gang war is overly simplistic, many shootings do seem to be connected.

Officers also responded to reports of shots fired between two vehicles on Milwaukee Street early Tuesday morning. They are working to see if that incident is connected to the shooting.

Today’s shooting comes as police continue to respond to a record number of calls involving gun violence.

There were 29 shots fired incidents in Madison in June and 44 last month, setting records for the department since they began tracking the statistic in 2016. There have been 143 shots fired incidents so far in 2020, which is an 88% increase over the first half of last year, Wahl said. Officers have also recovered 582 spent shell casings.

Fifty-five vehicles and residences have been hit by bullets and 28 people have been injured during shootings, including Tuesday’s victim.

“I hate to sound like a broken record, but the numbers that we are seeing this year in the summer are staggering,” Wahl said.