WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he plans to send federal law enforcement officials and the National Guard to Kenosha, Wisconsin, following three nights of clashes between police and demonstrators protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Trump said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers agreed to accept federal assistance Wednesday, one day after at least one gunman killed two people and injured a third during protests late Tuesday.
"TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!" the president wrote in a social media post.
In a statement issued early Wednesday, Kenosha police said at least one gunman opened fire on people gathered for protests Tuesday night, killing two people and injuring one other. Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was confident Wednesday that the person or people responsible for the shooting would be swiftly arrested based on video from the scene.
Beth also told the Journal Sentinel that armed people have been patrolling the city’s streets in recent nights, although he wasn’t immediately sure whether the person or people responsible for Tuesday’s shooting were part of the group.
“They’re a militia,” Beth said. “They’re like a vigilante group.”
On Tuesday, Blake's family urged protesters to remain peaceful and called for unity.
"If Jacob knew what was going on as far as that goes, the violence and the destruction, he would be very unpleased," Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, said at a news conference. "So I really (am) asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your hearts. Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicians -- do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts."
Blake, 29, is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the back Sunday at least seven times at point-blank range by a Kenosha police officer, according to an attorney representing Blake's family and video of the incident posted on social media.
The video, which was recorded by a neighbor and posted online, shows officers following Blake with their weapons drawn as he walks around an SUV and opens its front door. An officer can be seen tugging on Blake's shirt before shooting him several times in the back at point-blank range.
Three of his five children, including one who was celebrating his eighth birthday, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, witnessed the shooting, according to family attorney Benjamin Crump.
Authorities, including officials with the Justice Department and the FBI, are investigating the shooting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group