State Street is relatively tranquil late Wednesday night as a MPD cruiser passes the scene of the shooting.
As the sun sets Wednesday evening in downtown Madison, passersby casually stroll in between the City Bar and State Street Brats, seemingly unfazed by the shooting that took place there the night before. But Jeff Callen, Madison coordinator for the Guardian Angels, has been sifting for answers.
"I was hanging around alone on a different part of State Street," Callen says of the time of the shooting. "First thing [Wednesday] morning, I came downtown. I've been asking police about the shooting."
The Guardian Angels, a citizen crime-fighting group, regularly "patrols" State Street and the surrounding area. But Callen says the other members had left before gunfire killed Austin David Bodahl, 23, of Waconia, Minnesota.
"There wasn't much I could do at that point," says Callen, who is nursing a broken arm. "I'm going to let the police do their thing."
The shooting resulted from a street fight just before midnight Tuesday in the 600 block of State Street, according to a Madison police press release. Officers later arrested Daniel A. Kelly, 31, of Madison as a suspected shooter.
The shooting has prompted some State Street businesspeople to question the effectiveness of the Guardian Angels.
"I don't see them being able to help much," says Josh Schleicher, a bartender at the City Bar who was not working at the time of the shooting. "They are doing the same thing as the police, patrolling and looking for trouble. But they can't be on every street corner."
When asked whether the Angels could have helped to break up the fight Tuesday night, Schleicher said, "It's possible, but who's to say one of them won't get shot as well."
State Street Brats day manager Matt Goetsch is of similar mind. "They're not a negative thing," he says about the Guardian Angels. "But they're not really needed."
Callen says the Angels could have tried to intervene when the fight broke out: "We train to handle many situations. But we're not trying to dodge bullets. We can never know if a guy has a gun."
The goal in such a situation would be deter anyone from using a gun in the first place, Callen notes. The Angels also could have acted as witnesses, had they been there.
"We are not trying to take the place of the police," he says. "But you got to take a stand and try to help."
The local Guardian Angels are hoping to beef up patrols during the summer months. This Friday, members of the group's Davenport and Chicago chapters will be coming to Madison, along with Midwest coordinator, Mike Fuentes.
Callen says the decision to bring in outside chapter members was made prior to the shooting, as these members help out "once or twice a month."