Authorities in Wisconsin say a man shot and killed another man at a gas station before fleeing and eventually dying in a shootout with an undercover investigatorBy CARRIE ANTLFINGER Associated PressJuly 13, 2021, 7:27 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleFRANKSVILLE, Wis. — A man filling up his car at a Wisconsin gas station was shot and killed by another man on Tuesday, with the suspect fleeing the scene and dying soon after in a shootout with an undercover sheriff’s investigator.Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said the initial shooting happened about 7:30 a.m. at the Pilot Travel Center in the village of Caledonia. Schmaling said a 32-year-old man approached and “viciously executed” a 22-year-old man putting gas in his car.Schmaling said the gunman then shot at another person driving through the Pilot parking lot — that person was unhurt — and then drove away. The sheriff said the man then approached a person who was filling up his car at a Mobil station about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away.That man happened to be an undercover sheriff’s investigator with 21 years of experience, Schmaling said. He said the two men exchanged gunfire, and the suspect was struck several times and killed.The investigator was also hit and was taken to a Racine hospital, where he was conscious and alert, the sheriff said.“It should be noted, ladies and gentlemen, this is 7:30 in the morning at this Mobil station. It was bustling with activity. People getting their gas. People getting their morning cup of coffee. There is no doubt in my mind the quick, heroic actions of our investigator saved lives today,” he said.Schmaling said he had watched video of the initial shooting. Though he described the shooting as an execution, he gave no indication of what preceded the attack.Schmaling did not provide the names of the shooter or his victims, but did say the gunman was from Hartland and the man he shot and killed was from Elkhorn.One witness to the aftermath of the shooting at the Pilot, just off Interstate 94 about 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Milwaukee, described “a sea of people” fleeing from inside the station.A trucker who declined to give her name, citing fears for her safety, told The Associated Press she had just pulled into the Pilot to fuel up when a man ran out of the store. She said she then saw a truck ahead of her back up and make a U-turn to leave.“Then, everybody starts running out of the Pilot, it’s truckers just running, sea of people, this one guy is yelling, ‘Run! Run,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my God,’” the woman said. She said she asked one of the people what was going on.“He said that somebody’s in there shooting,” the woman said. She said she did not witness any shooting or see anyone hurt.In a statement, Pilot Co. spokeswoman Stephanie Myers said it’s “an open investigation, we are cooperating fully with local authorities.” The statement went on to say that the “safety and well-being” of the company’s’ employees and customers “is always our main concern.”———Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; Doug Glass in Minneapolis; and Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.
MILWAUKEE — Every Sunday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Joseph Jackson Jr. praises the Lord before his congregation. But since last fall he’s been praising something else his Black community needs: the COVID-19 vaccine.“We want to continue to encourage our people to get out, get your shots. I got both of mine,” Jackson said to applause at the church in Milwaukee on a recent Sunday.Members of Black communities across the U.S. have disproportionately fallen sick or died from the virus, so some church leaders are using their influence and trusted reputations to fight back by preaching from the pulpit, phoning people to encourage vaccinations, and hosting testing clinics and vaccination events in church buildings.Some want to extend their efforts beyond the fight against COVID-19 and give their flocks a place to seek health care for other ailments at a place they trust — the church.“We can’t go back to normal because we died in our normal,” Debra Fraser-Howze, the founder of Choose Healthy Life, told The Associated Press. “We have health disparities that were so serious that one pandemic virtually wiped us out more than anybody else. We can’t allow for that to happen again.”Choose Healthy Life, a national initiative involving Black clergy, United Way of New York City and others, has been awarded a $9.9 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant to expand vaccinations and and make permanent the “health navigators” who are already doing coronavirus testing and vaccinations in churches.The navigators will eventually bring in experts for vaccinations, such as the flu, and to screen for ailments that are common in Black communities, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, AIDS and asthma. The effort aims to reduce discomfort within Black communities about seeking health care, either due to concerns about racism or a historical distrust of science and government.The initiative has so far been responsible for over 30,000 vaccinations in the first three months in 50 churches in New York; Newark, New Jersey; Detroit; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta.The federal funding will expand the group’s effort to 100 churches, including in rural areas, in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and will help establish an infrastructure for the health navigators to start screenings. Quest Diagnostics and its foundation has already provided funding and testing help.Choose Healthy Life expects to be involved for at least five years, after which organizers hope control and funding will be handled locally, possibly by health departments or in alignment with federally supported health centers, Fraser-Howze said.The initiative is also planning to host seminars in churches on common health issues. Some churches already have health clinics and they hope that encourages other churches to follow suit, said Fraser-Howze, who led the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS for 21 years.“The Black church is going to have to be that link between faith and science,” she said.In Milwaukee, nearly 43% of all coronavirus-related deaths have been in the Black community, according to the Milwaukee Health Department. Census data indicates Blacks make up about 39% of the city’s population. An initiative involving Pastors United, Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope and Souls to the Polls has provided vaccinations in at least 80 churches there already.Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the country, according to the studies by the Brookings Institution. Ericka Sinclair, CEO of Health Connections, Inc., which administers vaccinations, says that’s why putting vaccination centers in churches and other trusted locations is so important.“Access to services is not the same for everyone. It’s just not. And it is just another reason why when we talk about health equity, we have … to do a course correction,” she said.She’s also working to get more community health workers funded through insurance companies, including Medicaid.The church vaccination effort involved Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope, which is faith organization working on social issues. Executive Director and Lead Organizer Lisa Jones says the effect of COVID-19 on the Black community has reinforced the need to address race-related disparities in health care. The group has hired another organizer to address disparities in hospital services in the inner city and housing, and lead contamination.At a recent vaccination clinic in Milwaukee at St. Matthew, a Christian Methodist Episcopal church, Melanie Paige overcame her fears to get vaccinated. Paige, who has lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, said the church clinic helped motivate her, along with encouragement from her son.“I was more comfortable because I belong to the church and I know I’ve been here all my life. So that made it easier.”———Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.