Bernell Trammell killing: Milwaukee police release photos of cyclist wanted for shooting black Trump supporter
Milwaukee police have released photographs of the suspect deemed responsible for the murder of a black Donald Trump supporter who was respected in his community. 60-year-old Bernell Trammell was shot to death in broad daylight in the city's Riverwest neighborhood last Thursday. His body was found in front of his business which featured Trump 2020 signage on the front window. While investigators are still trying to determine if the murder was politically motivated, they have now shared CCTV snaps of the suspect with the public in order to aid the probe.
The Milwaukee Police Department took to Twitter on Tuesday and shared five surveillance screengrabs of the man who appeared to take off on a bicycle that was near the crime scene. "MPD is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the suspect wanted for a homicide that occurred on the 900 block of East Wright Street on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at about 12:30 P.M," police wrote alongside the photos.
"The suspect is described as a male in his 30’s, 6’00, 200 pounds, last seen wearing a white and red baseball cap, a black mask covering the lower portion of his face, a black and red long sleeve shirt with white writing on the front, white or light-colored pants, black socks, and white shoes," they added. "The suspect’s mode of transportation was a black bicycle."
That said, the broad daylight attack has angered a number of notable Republicans. Wisconsin GOP Chairman Andrew Hitt has called for a federal investigation into the "senseless" killing of Trammell. "Because of Trammell's well known political activism and the possibility that his murder could be politically motivated, I respectfully request that United States Attorney Matthew Krueger open an investigation into this heinous crime," Hitt told the Journal Sentinel in a statement issued last Friday. "No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affiliation."
Meanwhile, Reggie Moore, director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention, told the paper that he had recently intervened in a dispute between Trammell and a young man who had a problem with a Trump sign he was carrying. Speaking to CBS 58, community members said Trammell was, in fact, an independent who supported candidates on both sides of the political aisle. He backed Trump in the presidential race but supported Democrat Senator Lena Taylor in the Milwaukee mayoral race.
"He believed in democracy. He believed in his right to free speech," said John Self, who had spoken to Trammell for years. "I don't think he ever once tried to convert you or change you. He would just tell you what he thought, he would listen to what you had to think, and then he would respect that."
"This is a community that there's a lot of diversity, a lot of different thoughts, a lot of different ideas, and I think that's what he represented about the community: that you could express yourself and you could express your opinions, and that's why he felt comfortable here I'm sure," Self added.
Speaking to Fox 6, local writer Adebisi Agoro said he had stopped by Trammell's office to discuss politics just two hours before the tragic shooting on Thursday morning. "He was just a community figure," Agoro said. "I respected him just because he had a position… He's got his opinion on why he feels that way; and I'm not going to knock him."
One local told Fox 6 how he had "very deep conversations" with Trammell. "He was a really great guy. He meant no harm," he added. "He's a black elder who didn't deserve to die the way that he did," another community member mourned.
If you or anyone you know has information about who may be involved, you are urged to call Milwaukee police at 414-935-7360 or Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS.