Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009

Mayor Barrett Update

By Lisa Kaiser
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Mayor Tom Barrett is stable, his visibly shaken brother John told the press this afternoon, although “he did sustain some pretty significant injuries” from being attacked last night. He said the mayor’s “good sense of humor” was still intact.

That said, the details of the attack on Barrett are pretty horrific. Police are questioning 20-year-old Anthony Peters, who was found at a residence at 17th and State Street in Milwaukee. He has not been charged with a crime. The police say they have recovered the alleged weapon, which was described as a “metal object.”

West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth said the incident was solely a domestic violence situation, unrelated to the State Fair, and wasn’t typical for the neighborhood. He said at the time of the attack, witnesses say Peters was intoxicated and had wanted to see his year-old daughter. Peters allegedly had threatened to shoot himself and others and had taken away the cell phone of the child’s grandmother, who was attempting to call 911.

According to the mayor’s brother John, the mayor had been with two of the mayor’s daughters, and the mayor’s sister and her daughter. They had heard a woman cry out for help, and Barrett got out his cell phone to call 911. That’s when Peters began attacking Barrett, apparently. No one else in the Barrett family was hurt.

John Barrett said that when Peters talked about having a weapon the mayor insisted on having his sister take his two children out of harm’s way. Barrett’s niece stayed and called 911, telling the attacker “the cops are coming,” John Barrett said. He said Peters came toward the niece but took off when he heard the sirens.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said there was no reason to believe that Peters knew that the man he was assaulting was the mayor. He said Peters has a long criminal record and was well known to the West Allis police.

“Last night he was a total violent and vicious thug,” Flynn said.

West Allis Mayor Dan Devine thanked Barrett for being a Good Samaritan, and called Peters a “coward.”

Flynn and Jungbluth also commended Barrett for putting himself in harm’s way to protect a stranger.

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