February 23, 2017
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NOW: 38°
HI 45 / LO 38

Kenosha man’s shooting death may have been accidental

Prosecutor says there are ‘conflicting statements’ as to what happened


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BY DENEEN SMITH
dsmith@kenoshanews.com


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While an investigation is still underway into the circumstances of a fatal shooting in Kenosha Saturday, family members of the victim said Monday that the man was killed accidentally by his 15-year-old cousin.

The 15-year-old appeared at a juvenile court hearing Monday afternoon, held on a possible charge of reckless homicide. The court commissioner granted Assistant District Attorney Erica Reinke’s request that the teen be kept in custody at a juvenile facility until another hearing on Wednesday to give investigators additional time to look into the circumstances of the death.

“At present there are numerous conflicting statements,” Reinke said.

Family members said the teen was visiting his cousin when the shooting occurred about 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the 3600 block of 48th Street. They said the teen had been moving the handgun for the 23-year-old victim and the weapon went off, a bullet hitting the man in the head.

“It’s just mind-boggling that this happened,” said the victim’s father, who declined to provide his name.

He said his son was concerned about his safety after shots were fired at another family member’s home on Friday, and that his son had asked the teen to put the gun, which his father said his son owned, into the backpack.

The victim was disabled and used a wheelchair. He was paralyzed in 2014 when his spine was damaged while he was in custody at the Kenosha County Jail when correctional officers were strapping him into a restraint chair.

Reinke said in court Monday that investigators are studying results of an autopsy and witness statements before prosecutors decide what type of charges they will pursue.

She said there is a possibility that the state would pursue intentional homicide charges depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Reinke said the teen initially denied to police that he was involved in the shooting, then later described the shooting as accidental.

She said in court that there were conflicting witness statements, including “at least one witness that places this as an intentional act.”

Vigil planned

Members of Congregations United to Serve Humanity will host a vigil for the shooting victim at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northport Community Baptist Church, 4609 38th St., and proceed to the site of the shooting.


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