‘It’s kind of scary’: Neighbors, police chief react to child nearly hit by gunfire

Police say gunfire, shots fired incidents still high

MADISON, Wis. – For neighbors and police alike, an adult and 8-year-old child nearly hit by gunfire on Madison’s west side is a call for concern.

“It’s kind of scary,” said Januario Cienfuegos, who called 911 along with his wife after hearing five to six shots Thursday night. “We called about probably 10 times from three different phones, just hearing busy, so probably a lot of people called around here. It’s a quiet neighborhood over here for the last 10 years, but probably not anymore.”

The bullets hit a nearby house, shattering windows and going directly over the heads of the 8-year-old and an adult inside, according to police. Cienfuegos said this isn’t the first time he’s heard gunshots.

“This is the second night,” Cienfeugos said. “I think it’s in the same house. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Police confirmed there was a report of shots fired within the same block on Wednesday, but officers didn’t find evidence and they can’t confirm the two incidents were connected.

The shooting Thursday gave Donna Petty Valenzuela a startling introduction to her new community. She’s just moving in, hoping to live in a home where she and her son with disabilities feel safe.

“So it’s very concerning to me that there is that kind of danger in the neighborhood and he might not recognize it,” Petty Valenzuela said.

She hopes whoever is behind shooting can change for the better.

“You can’t let disagreements rise to that level that you are pulling a weapon,” Petty Valenzuela said. “Even if they were angry with someone else, that 8-year-old didn’t need to be involved in it. Plenty of people in this neighborhood don’t need to be involved in it.”

“Unfortunately, we’re still seeing gun violence and shootings at a level we should all find unacceptable,” interim Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl said.

We’re hearing from interim Chief Vic Wahl about this latest close call just about a month after the shooting death of…

Posted by Madalyn O’Neill on Friday, September 18, 2020

This comes after record-setting amounts of gunfire over the summer, and Wahl said the city is on pace to break more records, at more than 175 shots fired incidents at the start of September so far this year — about 85% higher than last year.

He said he had hoped the shooting death of 11-year-old Anisa Scott in August would have been a wakeup call for those behind the trigger.

“My hope was by seeing the worst possible outcome that could happen from that behavior, it might cause them to pause and reconsider,” Wahl said. “Certainly if it had that effect at all, it was very short-lived.”

Police said they’re still searching of suspects after the shooting on Loreen Drive and are looking into a couple of other incidents in that timeframe to see if they’re connected.