Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes urged residents to help authorities curb gun violence ahead of the July Fourth weekend after a spate of shootings across the city in recent days, including one that put two teenagers in the hospital.
Six shootings have taken place in all corners of the city since last Friday — and between Sunday and Tuesday alone, police recovered eight guns, from assault weapons to rifles and pistols, Barnes said.
“We have seen an alarming number of guns on the street,” Barnes said at a news conference Thursday.
“Whatever’s going on the last couple of days, it needs to stop and it needs to stop now,” the chief said.
As Barnes was preparing to address reporters at the department’s Central District Office about 3 pm, officers were responding to an incident in which two vehicles exchanged gunfire in the area of Commercial Avenue and Sprecher Road. No one was injured, and authorities recovered two guns.
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On Wednesday, two teenagers were shot in a car about 5:20 pm in the parking lot of a McDonalds at 2901 Dryden Drive. Two people fled the scene and had not been apprehended, said police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer.
The two victims, ages 16 and 18, were taken to a hospital and are expected to recover.
Barnes said it’s still unclear what led to the shooting.
“Last night’s situation has become commonplace over the last few days here in Madison,” Barnes said.
The city also saw rising gun violence in the lead-up to the July Fourth weekend last year, Barnes said. Shootings have been trending down, the chief noted, but incidents during the past week will likely put the city on pace with 2021.
In other shootings over the past week:
Dozens of shots were fired at Demetral Park on Friday night. Two homes were struck by stray bullets, but no one was injured.
Police found 11 shell casings after reports of gunfire near University Ridge Golf Course on the Far West Side just after midnight Saturday.
A 15-year-old was arrested Saturday evening after police said he and two other juveniles walked into a marsh near Warner Park and shot a gun several times.
Gunfire rang out on the 2000 block of Fisher Street Wednesday night. No one was injured.
In preparation for the holiday weekend, patrols will be boosted in neighborhoods, parks and convenience stores, Barnes said.
Alongside a visible police presence, Barnes urged residents to report interpersonal conflicts that might escalate into gun violence, adding that “crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”
“We want to return Madison to the safe community we all know and love,” the chief said.
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