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The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks have canceled a scheduled watch party for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in response to three shootings Friday night that left over a dozen injured near the team’s Milwaukee stadium.
“The shootings that happened in downtown Milwaukee last night were horrific and we condemn this devastating violence,” the team said in a statement Saturday. “We are grateful to local law enforcement for its valiant efforts to try to contain what was a dangerous and fluid situation. While these incidents took place outside of Deer District property, it clearly resonated with fans coming out of the arena and leaving the plaza. Security, health and welfare are always our top priorities for our guests and employees and we appreciate the hard work of our security team to keep our fans safe. “
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The statement continued, “In order to allow law enforcement to devote needed resources to the continued investigation of last night’s events, we have decided to cancel tomorrow’s planned watch party on the plaza. Deer District businesses will remain open as usual. We continue to work with the Milwaukee Police Department and other public safety partners to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our fans. We plan to have further details soon. “
At least 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near the entertainment district where thousands gathered for an NBA playoff game on Friday night.
In one of the shootings, 17 people were injured when two groups started firing at each other. Three people were injured in another shooting, and one in the third. All of the gunfire happened blocks from the arena where the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals. All of the victims are expected to survive and ten people were taken into custody.
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Three people, including a 16-year-old girl, were injured in another shooting at 9:10 p.m., which was roughly five minutes before the game ended. One man was taken into custody.
Another shooting around 10:30 pm left one person injured. No arrest has been made in that shooting.
The canceled watch party likely would have drawn well over 10,000 people. The Bucks said 11,000 attended a Game 6 watch party, even as more than 19,000 others were inside the arena.
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Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the city imposed a curfew for the downtown area requiring everyone age 20 or younger to be off the street by 11 pm for Saturday as well as Sunday – when the Bucks play at Boston in the decisive Game 7.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.