MILWAUKEE – Former Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, 24, has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of Sylville K. Smith. The incident sparked nights of rioting following the August shooting. Both men are black.
Heaggan-Brown was charged with the offense Thursday, reported The Washington Post.
Authorities said that while Sylville K. Smith was initially armed during his encounter with police, he had thrown his gun away and fallen to the ground when an officer fired a shot into his chest. Heaggan-Brown is already facing charges of sexual assault and prostitution stemming from accusations made while demonstrations over Smith’s shooting continued to embroil Milwaukee.
He was arrested in October on those charges and fired by the Milwaukee Police Department shortly thereafter.
Heaggan-Brown fatally shot Smith, 23, during the encounter in August. Police said Smith was chased by Heaggan-Brown and had turned to face the officer while holding a gun.
Authorities said that Heaggan-Brown was wearing a body camera when he fired at Smith, with the first shot hitting Smith in the arm and the second striking him in the chest. Edward A. Flynn, the Milwaukee police chief, had pushed back against suggestions that Smith was unarmed, saying that he had a gun in his hand when turning toward Heaggan-Brown.
The criminal complaint filed Thursday in Milwaukee County court acknowledged that Smith “was armed with a semi-automatic pistol” when he ran away, but had discarded it before Heaggan-Brown fired the second shot, after the first one struck him in the right biceps. The complaint indicated these details were confirmed by body cam footage.