Bucks cancel watch party for J7

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks have canceled the watch party for Sunday’s Game 7 against the Boston Celtics after 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near the Deer District in downtown Milwaukee following the Bucks’ loss in Game 7. 6 against the Celtics in the Eastern semifinals on Friday night.

A spokesman for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a text message that the team decided to cancel the event “after consulting with the city and public safety agencies.”

The watch party in the Deer District would have likely drawn more than 10,000 people. The Bucks said 11,000 attended the Game 6 watch party, even as more than 19,000 people were inside the Fiserv Forum.

“The shootings that occurred in downtown Milwaukee last night were horrific and we condemn this devastating violence,” the Bucks said in a statement. The event was canceled “to allow law enforcement to devote necessary resources to the continued investigation of last night’s events,” but noted that Deer District businesses will remain open.

Three people were shot near the Deer District outside of Fiserv Forum towards the end of Friday night’s game, prompting fans to flee through the streets. One person was injured in a second shooting before a third less than a mile from the arena left 17 people with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

A man and a 16-year-old girl who were injured in the first shooting were transported to a local hospital Friday night, while a third person drove there, according to the Milwaukee Fire Department. All three have injuries that are not life-threatening.

Police said a 19-year-old man had been in custody since the first shooting and charges were pending review by the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office. No arrests have been made in the second shooting, Deputy Police Chief Nicole Waldner said.

Ten people were arrested and nine firearms were recovered from the third shooting, according to police, who described the incident as an exchange of gunfire between two groups of people.

“What makes people think they can do a shooting on a public street, whether there are police or not?” Waldner said at a midday news conference.

Five of those injured in the third shooting were armed and among the 10 people arrested, Waldner said.

Johnson said the city has imposed a downtown curfew that requires everyone 20 and under to be off the street by 11 p.m. for Saturday and Sunday. Additional police patrols are also planned.

“We can’t have that in this city, or anywhere else in this state, or anywhere else in this country,” Johnson said.

Milwaukee police have not said if the shootings were related and investigations are ongoing.

Bucks fans began packing the Deer District during the team’s run for the NBA championship last season. With a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics and on a warm day after a long winter, Friday was the first chance for fans to pick up the tradition. The team had set up metal detectors around the bars and the stage entrance outside the arena.

The first shooting took place outside that perimeter, one block from the Fiserv Forum.

Witnesses outside the arena said they heard gunshots with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter of Boston’s 108-95 win that tied the series 3-3, and those shots sent many in attendance into a frenzy, running in various directions.

A large police presence remained outside the arena for hours after the game, with police recording several nearby intersections.

ESPN’s Jamal Collier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bucks cancel watch party for J7