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Jay LaPrete 

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins plays against Wisconsin during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

'A terrifying day': Student shot by officer after allegedly pulling gun at Waukesha South High

After a student allegedly brought a gun to Waukesha South High School and was shot by a police officer in a classroom on Monday morning, City of Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly called it “a terrifying day.” Later in the day, a different student allegedly brought a gun to Waukesha North High School.

It was the second lockdown for a Waukesha high school in less than 4 hours, adding to the terror felt by hundreds of families, and underlying fear as the frequency of school shootings increases.

“For the citizens of Waukesha, I know this was a terrifying day for many students and parents,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said Monday morning, before the report of the student at North High.

Lockdown at South

A 17-year-old Waukesha South High School student was shot by a school resource officer after he allegedly pointed the gun at an officer, Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said during a news conference Monday morning.

Waukesha South High School, 401 E. Roberta Ave., is located about 11 miles north of the Tichigan area of Racine County.

At 10:17 a.m. Monday, the Waukesha South school resource officer was informed by a student that a 17-year-old male student had brought a handgun to school, Jack said.

The resource officer went to the student’s classroom and tried to de-escalate the situation, but the student was reportedly uncooperative. “The suspect would not remove his hands from his pockets and continued to ignore officers’ commands,” Jack said. “The suspect removed the handgun from his waistband and pointed it.”

The school resource officer — an 11-year veteran of the Waukesha Police Department — then shot the student, Jack said. Several students told media outlets on the scene that they heard three gunshots.

The student was transported by ambulance to a hospital and was reportedly in stable condition Monday afternoon, Jack said. Students were released at 11:15 a.m. School was expected to resume on Tuesday, although basketball games scheduled for Monday night were canceled.

“This is clearly a superintendent’s worst nightmare,” Todd Gray, the superintendent of schools for the Waukesha School District, said Monday morning. “But my primary concern is for the students and parents of Waukesha South High School.”

Waukesha police said Monday morning that the situation at South High School appeared to be an isolated incident and that they were not seeking other persons of interest at that time.

Jack said the Greenfield Police Department is leading an investigation into the morning’s incident as part of a regional task force.

“Initial information shows that the officer acted within state statutes and department policy, and fulfilled the mission of the Waukesha Police Department — a pledge to serve with integrity, honor and courage,” Jack said.

Lockdown at North

Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, Waukesha North High School, 2222 Michigan Ave., also was placed on lockdown. However, that lockdown was lifted about 10 minutes later, according to reporting from WITI-TV in Milwaukee.

At 2:20 p.m., the Waukesha Police Department tweeted that “There was a report of a student possessing a firearm at North High School.”

A search of the school was then conducted, police said, followed by a student being taken into custody at a City of Waukesha home.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, no other information had been released regarding the second incident.

‘This can happen anywhere’

An outpouring of support for the greater Waukesha community became apparent within hours.

Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement: “My heart is with the students, educators and staff of Waukesha South High School ... as they mourn and endure the trauma of today’s shooting.”

Evers continued: “Today is a grim reminder that this can happen anywhere, but I do not accept — nor should we accept — that this is an inevitable reality for our kids, our communities, our state, or our country.”

State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, the Republican majority leader, complimented the work of the Waukesha Police Department, saying that “law enforcement’s quick response today was heroic.”

Ben Wikler, the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in a tweet: “A few months ago, I sat down with a group of Waukesha high school students. Several told me about their palpable fear of gun violence. Profoundly bleak to see their fears realized today.”

One student tweeted at 12:28 p.m.: “Waukesha South student here, we’re all shaken up but we’re slowly going home. Love all of you guys, stay safe,” followed by a heart emoji.

The Journal Times may update this report as more information becomes available.

Mugshots: Racine County criminal complaints, Nov. 27

Downtown Racine
City mulls $28K to study moving part of Highway 32; vote expected Tuesday

RACINE — The city is proposing a study to evaluate three alternative routes for part of State Highway 32, based on recommendations for the Downtown area from a planning and engineering company.

Toole Design Group was hired by the city in May to conduct a $50,000 redesign of Monument Square and a $150,000 study of Downtown traffic and parking. The study was partially spurred by feedback from travel adviser Roger Brooks, who visited Racine County in 2017 and stated that Racine was not maximizing Monument Square and Downtown.

At a presentation in August, representatives from Toole said the key to improving Downtown is slowing down traffic on Main Street. The recommendations include reducing Main Street to a two-lane street, giving more room for pedestrians, cyclists and parking, and changing Wisconsin Avenue and Lake Avenue into two-way streets. They also recommended removing many of the Downtown traffic signals and replacing them with four-way stops.

Any of those measures would require rerouting Highway 32 off Main Street. At a Nov. 26 Public Works and Services Committee meeting, Public Works Commissioner John Rooney recommended hiring Strand Associates, which has an office in Milwaukee, to conduct a preliminary investigation of the three potential alternate routes for the highway.

The budget for the study is not to exceed $28,600, which would come out the Department of Public Works’ paving budget.

Three options

Two possibilities are, going north to south, to either move the state highway route onto Lake Avenue or Wisconsin Avenue once it has crossed the Main Street bridge and then reconnect to its current route at Sixth Street (coming from the south, drivers would still take Seventh Street).

The third option would have the state highway route go west onto State Street after crossing the Main Street bridge, then go south at Marquette Street and reconnect with the current route at Washington Avenue (Highway 20).

All three routes include the Main Street bridge because having that bridge designated as part of the state highway system is a major source of funding for its maintenance and repair. Rooney said Wisconsin Department of Transportation agreed that it wanted to keep that bridge part of the highway in order to continue funding its upkeep.

The Public Works and Services Committee recommended the City Council approve the study at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 7 tonight at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.

In photos: Looking down at the Downtown Racine area
In photos: Looking down at the Downtown Racine area

New local business
Studio moves from Downtown to Uptown

RACINE — The photo studio at 1352 Washington Ave. is unlike any other you’ve seen. Guaranteed.

Photographer Evie Kalmar has just opened Unplugged Studios at that Uptown address, a variation of the studio she previously had at 408 Main St. in Downtown. Kalmar specializes in avant-garde photography, as her new studio makes abundantly clear, but also does standard portraiture there.

In addition to photography, Kalmar is also an “alternative” freelance model and part-time social worker at Safe Haven of Racine, a youth shelter.

Unplugged Studios, she said, is a photography studio and collaborative artist space.

“It’s really just a place where artists can get together and do what they’re passionate about,” Kalmar said.

As a photographer, she said, “where my passion lies is with avant-garde photography, anything artistic and outside of the box. A lot of people love that.”

For photographing people in her new space, Kalmar has set up many different choices of 8-foot-square backdrops along the first floor’s sidewalls.

“Mostly this side is for headshots, portraits, things like that,” she said about the right, or east, wall. “Stereotypical backgrounds.”

Well, not completely stereotypical; a real casket with a broken mannequin lying in it was parked along that wall on Wednesday.

“Obviously, the casket is not there when we’re doing those (kinds of photo shoots),” Kalmar said with a laugh.

“But this side,” she said about the left, or west, sidewall, “is more crazy. Like the bathtub, the cloud, the piano. This is an LED wall; it lights up. The steam punk wall. This is a black light wall; it actually glows under black light. And then the phones.

“This is what I would love to do all the time,” she said about using the “crazy” wall. This (the saner wall) is what is in demand.”

“This (studio) just blows me away,” said Wes Fallon, a photographer and graphic artist.

The front of the first floor is gallery space for various artists.

More options

In her new Uptown studio, Kalmar said, “There are so many services that I can offer here that I was not able to offer (in her Downtown spot). I can run classes here; I can do workshops here.”

Unplugged is now also a co-working artistic space involving $200 monthly memberships. Kalmar currently has four members, one of them being Fallon. His business is Ascender Graphics.

“(Unplugged Studios) has expanded what I can do with photography,” he said.

For more information about Unplugged Studios, call 262-412-6877 or visit Unplugged Artistic Event Planning and Studios on Facebook.