MILWAUKEE (AP) — Three people were shot, a house was set on fire and seven police officers and a firefighter were injured as a large unruly crowd gathered at the scene of an investigation into two missing teenage girls in Milwaukee.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd Tuesday night as tensions rose and rumors spread online about the girls, ages 13 and 15. Police said they were investigating whether they were victims of sex trafficking.
The three people shot weren't shot by police, authorities said. Police Chief Alfonso Morales denounced the unrest as vigilantism and said some people were reacting to information that had not been proven.
“We investigate the information that is given to us. We can’t allow an unruly crowd to determine what that investigation is,” Morales said.
One of the two girls had been found as of Tuesday night, Morales said.
Police had been to the home earlier Tuesday, as a crowd began to grow. By mid-afternoon, the crowd surged toward the house, as some in the group wanted to look for evidence that supported the rumors of sex trafficking, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Some broke into the house, while others smashed windows and by evening the house was set on fire and the unrest escalated.
Police said two 14-year-old children and a 24-year-old man were shot during the unrest. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening. Details on the extent of the injuries to the officers and firefighter weren't immediately known.