Madison SWAT teams mobilized after warning about Highland Park suspect

MPD held a news conference Wednesday afternoon after confirmation that the suburban Chicago mass shooting suspect weighed a second attack in Dane County.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 3:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - “Now we will never know for certain what stopped him, but I am thankful that no innocent lives were taken from our city,” Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said just hours after the revelation the alleged Highland Park shooter weighed carrying out a second attack in Dane County.

Barnes was speaking about the situation during a news conference which was joined by Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway.

Barnes said that at around 5 p.m., just hours after the Highland Park shooting, the FBI contacted Madison Police Department and requested that it mobilize its SWAT Team. While the team was collecting gear and waiting for more information from the FBI, local officials learned that the suspect had already been arrested in Lake Forest, Illinois.

On Wednesday, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said the suspect had “seriously contemplated doing another shooting in Madison.” Covelli said that authorities believe the suspect was in the Wisconsin area from 2-4 p.m. and noted that they are not certain which event the suspect passed in the Madison area as he was contemplating the second attack. Covelli added that the suspect still had 60 rounds with him at the time.

Barnes stated that he is aware that the FBI is still investigating this mass shooting and the suspect’s cell phone that was found outside of a Middleton business. He also extended his condolences to the families of seven victims and residents of that area.

“We are deeply troubled to learn the suspected Illinois parade shooter considered carrying out another attack here in Madison,” Barnes said. “We feel for the grieving families in Highland Park and all those forever impacted by the events of Monday’s shooting.”

Dane County Sheriff Barrett said that the sheriff’s office is not currently involved in the mass shooting investigation, but will work with agencies in Dane County on ensuring safety. He also urged residents, even children, to remain vigilant on reporting any suspicious activity.

“If you see something, say something by calling 911,” Barrett said. “This isn’t just for adults, this is for children, teenagers on social media platforms. If you see something, or read something that is concerning, please call 911 and let us know immediately so we can intervene.”

Barrett said the sheriff’s office will hold free active assailant trainings for community organizations. He also mentioned an initiative the sheriff’s office collaborates with the Madison PD on where gun owners can turn in any unwanted, unused or unnecessary guns in return for gift cards to buy groceries or gasolines. That buy-back event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alliant Energy Center.

Rhodes Conway called for national gun violence prevention efforts in response to the mass shooting.

“This time the shooter wreaked havoc in Highland Park and drove to Madison,” she said. “Next time, it could be anywhere. On his way here, he drove past hundreds of communities celebrating the Fourth of July. All of us are at risk when weapons of war are on our streets.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi also released a statement Wednesday, calling the contemplation of a second shooting “a frightening reminder of the randomness of gun violence & that no one is immune.”

Madison is just approximately 139 miles northwest of Highland Park, Illinois.

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