Shootings mar Bucks’ celebrations
Two shootings left three people wounded in downtown Milwaukee as crowds celebrated the Milwaukee Bucks’ first NBA championship in 50 years, police said.
The shootings happened at two locations, police said. TV station WISN had a reporter broadcasting from the scene when multiple shots were heard, prompting people to flee.
Police said the injuries weren’t life-threatening. One person was arrested and others were being sought.
The shootings were across the Milwaukee River from Fiserv Forum, where the game was played, and the Deer District plaza, where a crowd of roughly 65,000 had gathered for an outdoor watch party. The area where the shootings took place is on a street heavily populated with bars and restaurants.
During the game, a police officer was trampled by people trying to get into the Deer District watch party after the area had reached capacity, Milwaukee police Captain Jesus Ortiz said in an email. The officer didn’t have any major injuries but was in pain, Ortiz said.
A 22-year-old man was hurt in one shooting, and a suspect was taken into custody. A 19-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man were hurt in the other shooting, which happened about the same time, police said.
The two shootings, which were in the immediate area of the celebrations, likely were what was heard during the TV coverage, Ortiz said.
The celebrations came after Giannis Antetokounmpo capped one of the greatest NBA Finals ever with 50 points as Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to win the series 4-2.
Fans who packed the streets surrounding the arena had cheered and danced all night as they watched the game on giant video screens, and the massive crowd erupted in jubilation as the game ended. A few fans climbed light poles in the plaza and others jumped off a bridge into the nearby river as fireworks exploded above the arena.
Joy Smith, 50, of Milwaukee, danced after the final buzzer. ‘‘Milwaukee is under-rated, but we proved to the world we could do it,’’ she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Another fan, Sabrina Holland, 37, of Milwaukee, called it ‘‘epic.’’ She said: ‘‘Everyone who’s anyone is here.’’
Before the game, and at the city’s request, Governor Tony Evers mobilised 150 National Guard members to help with traffic control and public safety in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo celebrated the moment with his team after a stunning series that vindicated his decision to sat with the Bucks.
This could have been the offseason in which Antetokounmpo entered the free-agent market and perhaps teamed up with another superstar to try winning multiple NBA titles together.
Antetokounmpo averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5 assists to help the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the Finals.
‘‘I could go to a superteam and just do my part and win a championship,’’ Antetokounmpo said. ‘‘But this is the hard way to do it and this is the way to do it. And we did it.’’