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Two more gun-related homicides bring year’s total to 56

By Gilman Halsted

Wisconsin Public Radio

Editor's Note: This article is part of a Wisconsin Public Radio year-long series tracking all gun-related homicides in Wisconsin.

Two more shooting victims died last week in Milwaukee. The death of 10-year-old girl and 20-year-old man brings the statewide gun homicide total to 56 for the year.

Ten-year-old Sierra Guyton died on Sunday after spending almost two months on life support in a Milwaukee hospital. She was caught in crossfire and shot in the head at a playground on May 21 near a Milwaukee school.

On Friday morning, a church group held a prayer vigil for 20-year-old James Stear-Swinford, who was shot on July 8 and died of his wounds last Saturday. Police have made an arrest and the investigation is ongoing.

There have also been several non-fatal gun incidents in both Madison and Milwaukee this week. A 20-year-old man was shot on Milwaukee's south side on Tuesday night and was admitted to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. In Madison, a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were wounded during a fight that involved seven or eight people that erupted into gunfire on late Wednesday night.

Madison Police Department (MPD) spokeman Joel DeSpain said it appears the shooting was gang-related.

“What we know is that we have a good number of young men in Madison who purport to be members of gangs and we believe a number of these individuals are armed and are in the middle of some confrontations that may be linked,” said DeSpain.

DeSpain said the MPD’s gang unit has been trying to prevent such incidents by visiting the homes of gang members and talking with their families about how they can get out of the gangs.