Man pleads guilty to attempted homicide in 2021 homeless shelter shooting

MADISON, Wis. — The man accused of shooting someone at Madison’s temporary men’s shelter and threatening others a year ago is pleading guilty to attempted homicide.

According to court records, Ronald E. Stephens reached a plea deal Thursday, pleading guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide after shooting another man in the chest last March.

Madison Police were already outside the temporary men’s shelter on First Street last March responding to a medical call when they heard gunshots come from inside the shelter. Managers at the facility told police they heard an argument before the shots were fired.

Surveillance video from the shelter showed the confrontation, with Stephens holding a gun while coming down the stairs near the shelter’s bathrooms. The man who was shot is heard saying, “You ain’t scaring nobody,” before Stephens pointed the gun at the man’s chest and fired multiple rounds at close range.

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A person who worked at the shelter told police they heard Stephens say, “Who else wants it? Anybody else could get it,” after the shooting. Stephens later fled the shelter through a staff door, but turned himself into police in Milwaukee a few days after the shooting.

Stephens was briefly found not competent to stand trial last June, before he was ruled competent in September.

Police said the victim, who did survive, had a punctured lung and a graze wound on his shoulder. The incident caused the city to increase security at the temporary men’s shelter and require weapons screening.

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A sentencing date for Stephens has yet to be set.