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Neighbors said they called police well before barrage of gunfire at Midtown

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Residents in the Capitol Heights neighborhood, next to the Midtown shopping center, said they called police before the barrage of gunfire to report a large crowd gathered in the parking lot.

The neighbors said police did not respond.

About a dozen neighbors told WISN 12 they called police to report a rowdy crowd in the vacant Walmart parking lot at Midtown Sunday night.

Some said they called as early as 9:30 p.m.

At about 11:30 p.m., more than 300 shots rang out in the parking lot.

Two people were injured.

On Monday, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said no one has been arrested.

During a press conference, Norman and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said large crowds often gather in the vacant area of Midtown's parking lot.

Both officials asked for the public's assistance.

"My ask to the public is a call to action," Norman said. "Public safety is a team effort. This is not only on MPD in regards to how can we make our city safe. We all need to have a collective effort in this particular engagement."

"These people that pulled these triggers in our neighborhood went home late that night and nobody said anything," Johnson said.

Johnson said he has lived in many different Milwaukee communities over the years and has never heard the barrage of gunshots like he heard Sunday night.

He said he wants families and communities to get more involved in preventing gun violence.

"It also includes folks in our community, it includes parents to make sure we are keeping tabs on our young people," Johnson said. "Neighbors, when you see something awry, stepping up and calling the police non-emergency number. It's family members reeling your kids in, know where they are, know what they're doing."

However, at least a dozen residents near Midtown told WISN 12 police responded to Midtown only after gunshots rang out.

Neighbors said police did not try to break up the crowd, even as neighbors continued calling to complain.

"I called at about 9:30 (Sunday) night," said one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. "I told them there was a big uproar of cars across the street at the midtown area and they need to get somebody over here and break it up. Nobody showed up."

"You would see the cars driving around swirling, making skid marks, driving real fast, coming to complete stop, doing that back and forth. Young girls hanging out of the sunroofs of the car. It's just terrible," the neighbor said. "I can't understand how you have Capitol, Fond du Lac and 60th Street and no police notice anything, until it took 300 gunshots and two people to get shot for somebody to respond? That's ridiculous."

Another neighbor said it sounded like a war zone in her neighborhood Sunday night.

Shuntress Hart said when she and her daughter heard the gunshots, they laid flat on the floor for 30 minutes.

She said police do not patrol the area enough.

"We have called several times with different situations and it's like, no," Hart said.

However, Hart also said it is not all MPD's responsibility.

"It's going to take not just one or two, it's going to take bold soldiers, not cowards, bold soldiers, to speak out and let people know that it needs to stop. We need to stop hurting each other," Shuntress said.

Neighbors in the area said the vacant parking lot's nickname is "Midtown Club" because of all the activity there at night.

MPD did not immediately respond to WISN 12's request about 911 and non-emergency calls made before the barrage of gunfire Sunday night.

Johnson said he is working with Midtown management to get more businesses into the vacant part of the shopping center, to help curb the crowds at night.

READ MORE:Neighbors said they called police well before barrage of gunfire at Midtown

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