Man shot by police reached out for help days before

Posted at 3:24 PM, Mar 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-30 15:24:57-04

Milwaukee (WTMJ) – Court records show the man shot by police at UW-Milwaukee last week failed to appear in court the day before the campus shooting.

Thirty-year-old Irie Payne Jr. was charged Friday with felony bail jumping from an open case stemming from 2017.

Payne was shot near the Fine Arts Complex building after police said he was found sleeping inside the building with a weapon.

Four days before the chaotic scene broke out on UWM’s campus, Payne turned to those who had helped him with a place to live growing up. Karen Phillips and her husband immediately noticed strange behavior.

“He stayed for maybe an hour, but he was real antsy and Jessie said ‘calm down, but whatever you’re doing you gotta stop because you’re going to get yourself in trouble,'” Phillips said.

Thirty-year-old Irie Payne Jr.

That trouble came when Payne was shot and injured on the campus where he used to be enrolled.

“The first thing, I’m like, ‘Is he dead?’ and he was like, ‘No he was just wounded’, and I’m just like, ‘Man, he came he was looking for help but we didn’t know what he needed,'” Phillips said.

Phillips said she took Payne in for nine years starting as a homeless and troubled teen who was able to graduate high school and pursue his passion of dance under their guidance. She said they kicked him out a couple years ago once he began showing aggressive and erratic behavior.

“I wish I would have known,” she said. “We would have known what to look for so we could have helped him get the help that he needs.”

After reflecting on the incident and their encounter days before, Phillips is quite certain Payne is suffering from mental health issues. She regrets not knowing in time to intervene.

“I wasn’t able to do it. We weren’t able to do it,” she said.

Charges have yet to be filed in the UWM shooting case. Court records show the district attorney’s office is still investigating felony charges stemming from that incident.