Darreon Parker-Bell would walk into a Wisconsin police station and open fire following the death of a friend two days earlier. According to police reports Darreon Parker-Bell friend Keishon D. Thomas had died at the police station after ingesting drugs while he was arrested. Darreon Parker-Bell would go to the same police station asking questions regarding Keishon D. Thomas death investigation before pulling out two guns and opening fire. After exchanging gun shots with police Darreon Parker-Bell would flee from the station however he would be arrested a short time later. Darreon Parker-Bell is facing a host of charges including attempted first-degree intentional homicide and seven counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
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Darreon Parker-Bell told investigators from his hospital bed he hoped police would return fire and kill him when he allegedly shot at Milwaukee Police Department employees inside its District Five station last week.
Those details were included in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, as prosecutors charged the 23-year-old Milwaukee man with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and seven counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
Darreon Parker-Bell fired a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol three times inside the station — injuring no one — after he asked an officer working the front counter for information relating to Keishon Thomas, 20, who died in a holding cell at the same facility two days earlier, the complaint said.
He then fled the station on foot and was later shot and injured by police several blocks away. Seven officers have been placed on administrative duty as a result
Angel Harrell, Parker-Bell’s girlfriend, has said Parker-Bell and Thomas were like brothers to each other. Prior to Thomas’ death, Parker-Bell was already devastated by the deaths of at least three relatives and had been making statements Harrell interpreted as suicidal, she said.
Parker-Bell told police he had been experiencing mental health issues as a result of several hardships in his life — Thomas’ death in particular, according to the complaint.
“I’m not saying that he did right, because I’m very angry with how he handled it, but he wasn’t in the right state of mind,” Harrell said. “He wasn’t. He couldn’t keep taking that heartbreak.”
Thomas was arrested in the early morning of Feb. 23 following a traffic stop and was booked into a holding cell at District Five, 2920 Vel R. Phillips Ave. After spending roughly 16 hours in custody, officers noticed he required medical attention. He died despite life-saving efforts from police and fire personnel.
The Waukesha Police Department is the lead outside agency investigating Thomas’ death. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said it found no trauma during an autopsy, but the cause of death is pending a toxicology report, which can take weeks to complete.
Thomas’ family has already arranged for a second autopsy to be performed through the Know Your Rights Camp, a group funded by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The organization provides free autopsies for families of those who died in a “police-related death.”
It is unclear how soon that autopsy could be performed.
Police said Thomas was arrested during the traffic stop because a warrant for his arrest had been issued, and that suspected illegal narcotics were found in his possession. Online court records show a warrant was issued for Thomas in 2021 after he failed to attend a court hearing regarding a nonviolent misdemeanor offense.
The Police Department has said it previously did not ask arrested persons whether they had recently ingested prescription drugs or narcotics while being booked into a holding cell, but will do so now.
Three officers have been suspended pending the results of the investigation into Thomas’ death.
According to Parker-Bell’s criminal complaint:
At about 3:03 p.m. Feb. 25, Parker-Bell entered the station and spoke to an officer working the front counter in the lobby. Three civilians were also present, along with four workers behind the counter.
Parker-Bell asked for information about Thomas’ death. After the officer said he did not have any, and was unauthorized to divulge any if he did, Parker-Bell pulled out a gun and fired one round into the ground.
He then took several steps backward while facing the counter, as other patrons and workers ducked for cover. As the officer slowly stood up to look above the counter, Parker-Bell fired another shot toward him, breaking a partition that was inches from his head.
Parker-Bell then fired a third shot toward the area of the counter. A second officer emerged and fired three shots at Parker-Bell, who then fled through a residential area.
As officers pursued, Parker-Bell brandished his gun in their direction several times and refused to follow commands. Several officers then fired at him and injured him.