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Three more shooting deaths raise year’s gun homicide total to 64

Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Three more shooting deaths in Milwaukee over the past week have pushed the statewide gun homicide toll to 64 so far this year.

Milwaukee police say 20-year-old Beelee Chang and 32-year-old Jack Yang were shot around midnight last Saturday morning when riding in a car with their alleged killer. Chang died at the scene while Yang died a day later.

Nhia Ger Thao was a friend of the two men, and knew Chang especially well.

“He always looked out for you — always” said Thao. “If we had got into a fight with other people, he would be the first on there. I miss you man.”

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, the alleged shooter Do Thao has a concealed carry weapons permit and took his loaded semi-automatic handgun to a party at which he drank beer and rum.

That description does not sit well with Chris Jasezski, a member of a Milwaukee inner-city church group that held a sidewalk vigil for the two men who died. He said the state should not have allowed concealed carry of weapons.

“What are we carrying guns for? We have to solve problems peacefully. We have to solve problems without the finality of death,” said Jasezski.

Concealed carry advocates say guns can protect innocent people, but Jasezski said he has his hands for protection.

The third shooting death of the week occurred early this morning, when Antonio Edwards, a 24-year-old black man, was killed. Police say Edwards was arguing with unknown suspects, and that an investigation is ongoing.

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