The shooting death on the 600 block of State Street just before midnight Tuesday night is quickly generating plenty of discussion online. A 31-year old man was arrested early Wednesday morning by Madison police after allegedly shooting a 23-year old man after a fight in front of the City Bar on the block.
"The victim was pronounced deceased at a local hospital," declared MPD public information officer Michael Hanson in a press release issued later Wednesday morning. "The suspect is detained and a weapon was recovered. This does not appear to be a random act and there is no continuing threat to the community."
Witnesses and others quickly posted reactions on Facebook and other sites. One perspective was shared by Benjamin Hoppe in a discussion in the Madison Facebook group. He wrote [excerpts have been copied from the respective websites and have not been edited]:
So ya.. there was three shots.. the guy missed with the frist 2, but was then apprehended. The word on the street is that a guy who got shot was a "gutterpunk" homeless younger male. He died when the thrird shot hit him. A big section of state street was shut down and the actual shooting was right in front of Einstein's Bagels on state.
These comments and several photos of the scene were subsequently published on the Madison LiveJournal group by Jamie Ivanov, who heard about the shooting while working at the Towers private dormitories just a few steps to the east on State Street. He also published a gallery consisting of 21 photos showing the police investigation on the 600 block of the street subsequent to the arrest of the alleged shooter.
Another person claims to know the alleged shooter. He writes:
i work at steve and barry's. what's more is that i know the guy described in the shooting. that is to say i know who he is, and i see him walking around all the time. granted that is a bit of a jump given the facts presented in the article, but how many "unkempt" people are walking around state street in a kilt? usually just the one.
Others are beginning to discuss the implications of the shooting with regards to the safety climate downtown. One UW student blogging about the shooting report from The Capital Times criticizing Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's approach to downtown violence. "I agree with his argument about misplaced city priorities," he wrote, "but before local politicians, editorialists, and bloggers get carried away, remember how uncommon a shooting death is around the UW campus area." He also published a pair of photos from the scene taken early this morning long after the shooting.
Cieslewicz himself issued a statement regarding the shootings on Wednesday morning. He stated:
Although murders are extremely rare in Madison, I am very concerned whenever a serious crime like this takes place. I am glad to hear that the alleged perpetrator is in custody and poses no additional threat to the community, thanks to the fast and effective response of the Madison Police Department.
Overall, our community, including downtown Madison, remains extremely safe. This is just the second murder in Madison this year. Downtown crime in general is down significantly compared to last year. That said, we must always strive to do better. Even one murder a year in our community is too many.
To that end, we put in place a Downtown Safety Initiative in 2007 to provide funding for police overtime, neighborhood watch programs and other resources. I will continue to work closely with the Police Chief and other local leaders to ensure that Madison remains one of the safest cities in America.
This press release is also available under "Related Downloads" at right.
Matt Weil, a Langdon Street resident and regular critic of downtown violence declares that the shooting "escalates things to a whole new level," while UW alumnus Brad Vogel comments on its implications. "In my eyes," he contends, "this hurts the State Street image more than the four rowdy years of Halloween combined."