DOJ releases more details in moments leading up to shooting of Jacob Blake

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MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is releasing new details in their investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake, including the identities of the other officers on the scene at the time of the incident.

In a release issued Friday morning, the DOJ identified Kenosha Police Officer Vincent Arenas and Kenosha Police Officer Brittany Meronek as responding to the scene, along with Officer Rusten Sheskey, who was previously identified as the officer who ultimately shot Blake.

The DOJ says their investigation thus far has found both Sheskey and Arenas tried to use a taser to subdue Blake after initial attempts to arrest him failed. Both taser attempts did not stop Blake, according to the DOJ’s release.

As seen in widely-distributed video, Blake can then be seen walking to the driver’s side door of his vehicle and leaned forward. That’s when Officer Sheskey held on to Blake’s shirt and shot him 7 times in the back. The DOJ says no other officer at the scene fired their weapon.

The DOJ says officers immediately provided first aid to Blake, who was airlifted to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, where he is alive and recovering. His father says Blake is paralyzed from the waist down and is currently handcuffed to his hospital bed. Authorities have not said what Blake was arrested for. Court records show he did have an outstanding warrant issued in early July.

All of the officers involved are on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing, and the DOJ says they are cooperating with the investigation.

DCI says the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. They hope to have a final report within 30 days.

You can read the DOJ’s full release below:

KENOSHA, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is continuing to investigate an officer involved shooting (OIS) in Kenosha, Wis. that occurred on the evening of Sunday, August 23, 2020.

Kenosha Police Department officers were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 block of 40th Street after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.

During the incident, officers attempted to arrest Jacob S. Blake, age 29. After the initial attempt to arrest Mr. Blake, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey deployed a taser to attempt to stop Mr. Blake. When that attempt failed, Kenosha Police Officer Vincent Arenas also deployed his taser, however that taser was also not successful in stopping Mr. Blake.

Mr. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver’s side door, and leaned forward. While holding onto Mr. Blake’s shirt, Officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon 7 times. Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake’s back. No other officer fired their weapon. Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras.

The shooting officer, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, has been a law enforcement officer with Kenosha Police Department for seven years. Kenosha Police Officer Vincent Arenas has served with Kenosha Police Department since February 2019, with prior service with the United States Capitol Police Department. Also present was Kenosha Police Officer Brittany Meronek who joined Kenosha Police Department in January of this year.

During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession. DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.

Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to Mr. Blake. Flight for Life transported Mr. Blake to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Mr. Blake remains at the hospital.

DCI is leading this investigation and is assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. All involved law enforcement are fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.

DCI is continuing to review evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to a prosecutor following a complete and thorough investigation.

When DCI is the lead investigating agency of a shooting involving a law enforcement officer, DCI aims to provide a report of the incident to the prosecutor within 30 days. The prosecutor then reviews the report and makes a determination about what charges, if any, are appropriate. If the prosecutor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, DCI will thereafter make the report available to the public.

Questions regarding Mr. Blake’s other matter or custodial status can be directed to the Kenosha District Attorney.

No additional details are currently available.