Violence, Shooting and Closing the Doors of the Church
|I wish I had simple answers to the violence that is moving around us so regularly. Last week, someone was shot at a church at a funeral. This story tells of a church that had to cancel its services because of the violence related to this incident.
In church on Sunday, we talked briefly about the verses describing the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. I am not to speak or preach often on end times but the level of reported depravity and disrespect feels like it is at an all time high.
I will surely be in prayer and will engage in work wherever I can . . . seeking and striving to make a difference.
Suspect in West Allis slaying caught after highway shootings
Investigators respond to the scene of a fatal shooting Sunday in West Allis. Credit: Rick Romell
A police car blocks the street near the crime scene Sunday.Rick Romell
By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel
A manhunt for a suspect in the slaying of a man found shot to death in his West Allis apartment ended Sunday afternoon with a shootout on I-94 north of Madison.
The bizarre case involved a drive-by shooting of a vehicle in Sauk County, canceling of services at a Milwaukee church because of threats made by the person suspected of killing the West Allis man, and law enforcement officials firing shots at a vehicle, which shut down I-94 traffic near DeForest in both directions.
It all started shortly before 7 a.m. when West Allis police dispatchers received a 911 call about a man forcing his way into two apartments in the 2300 block of S. 92nd St. When officers searched the building, they found 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez suffering from a gunshot wound, according to West Allis police.
West Allis firefighters tried unsuccessfully to save Sanchez’s life.
The apartment building, next to Aurora West Allis Medical Center, was evacuated by police without finding the suspect, who they said was “affiliated with the apartment building” and who apparently had fled.
Just after noon Sunday, yellow police tape surrounded the building and blocked the northbound lanes of 92nd St. for a little more than a block. Investigators could be seen out front putting on powder-blue plastic bootees before going inside.
While investigating Sanchez’s death, West Allis police learned that the person suspected in the shooting was associated with Epikos Church, 6229 W. Greenfield Ave., and had made threatening statements about a member of the church. Epikos Church leaders canceled the regularly scheduled 5:30 p.m. Sunday service at the church’s east side location, 2308 E. Belleview Place in Milwaukee, and sent out a message to parishioners.
“There was a possible security situation this morning and to be extra cautious we felt it was important to cancel services until everything is fully resolved. The police are confident that the situation will be resolved so that we can return to worshipping safely next weekend.”
West Allis police sent out information to law enforcement agencies throughout the state, and by Sunday afternoon several agencies were pursuing a vehicle on eastbound I-94 in Columbia and Dane counties. Officers fired shots at one of the suspects, and eventually three people suspected of being involved in a drive-by shooting of another vehicle in Sauk County were arrested.
One of the people suspected in the Sauk County drive-by shooting turned out to be the person West Allis police were seeking in Sanchez’s killing.
A UW MedFlight helicopter was sent to the shooting scene on I-94, and one person was reportedly shot, though the extent of the injuries was not released.
The scene of Sunday’s killing is barely a mile north on S. 92nd St. from the scene of a high-profile triple homicide on March 6. Dan Popp, 39, is accused of methodically shooting and killing three of his neighbors at point-blank range at their Milwaukee apartment complex.
A judge on April 6 ruled that Popp was not competent to proceed to trial on three counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Popp was committed to a state mental health facility and will be periodically reviewed to see whether treatment has made him competent for trial.
About Meg Jones
Meg Jones is a general assignment reporter who specializes in military and veterans issues. Meg was part of a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2003, and is the author of “World War II Milwaukee.”