Andrea Cavallier, Daily Mail, April 11, 2022
A Milwaukee man was filmed firing up a police precinct two days after his friend died there while in custody after taking drugs during a traffic stop.
Milwaukee police released the footage on Friday, which shows Darreon Parker-Bell 23, shoot-up the District 5 station’s lobby on February 25. He did so two days after his friend Keishon D. Thomas, 20, died there while in custody.
Thomas is said to have stopped breathing while alone in his cell, after ingesting an unidentified white substance during a traffic stop that got him arrested.
Parker-Bell had reportedly reached a ‘breaking point’ following his friend’s death, his girlfriend later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Thomas died on February 23 in a holding cell at the same police station after spending roughly 16 hours in custody following a traffic stop where it’s believed he ingested narcotics.
Police say Thomas refused to go to the hospital, so he was placed in a holding cell by himself where he was later found unresponsive.
Two days later, Parker-Bell walked into the police station and asked an officer about his friend’s death investigation. He became angry after he was told that information could not be shared because it formed part of an ongoing investigation.
Parker-Bell is then seen on video pulling a gun from his waistband and firing a shot toward the floor, sending people in the lobby scrambling for cover as they scream with fright.
The officer drops behind the counter but when he rises to his feet, Parker-Bell then fires his gun at the officer, shattering the glass partition.
Parker-Bell then fires a third shot across the counter and officers fire back at Parker-Bell, who then flees the police station.
A police chase on foot ensues and moments later, officers find Parker-Bell and order him to drop his gun. When he refuses, the officers fire at Parker-Bell again, who flees the area.
Officers locate Parker-Bell in the backyard of a home where they order Parker-Bell to drop his weapon. Police say Parker-Bell pointed his gun at officers, prompting them to fire at Parker-Bell, striking him multiple times.
Parker-Bell was transported to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries. No officers or members of the public were injured in the incident.
Parker-Bell told investigators from his hospital bed he hoped police would have returned fire and killed him, according to the criminal complaint.
On March 1, Parker-Bell was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and seven counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
He is currently in custody with a bail set at $500,000.
Weeks after the police station shooting and Thomas’ police custody death, police released body-worn police officer cameras and surveillance footage of both incidents.
In video footage that shows the events leading up to Thomas’ death, Thomas was pulled over in the early morning hours on February 23, and officers conducted a traffic stop for a failure to signal.
Police then discovered an active warrant for Thomas’ arrest and took him into custody where they discovered what they believed to be narcotics.
Video shows an officer attempting to reach in Thomas’ pocket when he lunges forward into the squad car, looking as if he was trying to consume something on the backseat.
‘He’s trying to eat it. He’s trying to eat it,’ one officer is heard saying while as he yanks Thomas out of the car. Officers find the drugs and ask if there are any more.
‘Alright, so there’s one rock. Where’s the other one?’ the officer is heard saying to Thomas.
‘I have no more. I ate ’em. … I ate the little, the little smoke I had,’ Thomas replies. But a further search of Thomas reveals more drugs.
Back at the station, Thomas is asked how much he ingested, and Thomas responds ‘one rock’ and ‘one ecstasy pill.’
The booking officer suggests Thomas go to the hospital, but Thomas, who also admitted to taking ‘dope and two ecstasy pills,’ refused to go.
Officers are seen on video taking Thomas to a holding cell, but roughly 16 hours after the traffic stop, they return to to find Thomas unresponsive.
Video footage shows an officer unlocking Thomas’ cell at 5:53 p.m. and discover Thomas not breathing. No footage inside the cell was shown. When the footage resumes, the officer is seen running out of Thomas’ cell and several officers rush to the cell.
Police said they performed CPR on Thomas, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but that is not shown on footage.
Thomas was pronounced dead after staff attempted life-saving measures, police said.
Thomas’ official cause of death is still unknown, pending toxicology reports, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police say the investigation is ongoing by the Waukesha Police Department, who is the lead agency. The officers involved in the incident were placed on full suspension.