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UPDATE: Two homes on Janesville's east side hit by bullets

JANESVILLE

A man who lives along the east side of North Pontiac Drive in Janesville said he was asleep late Saturday, but awoke to gunfire that sent a single bullet punching through his garage’s walls.

The bullet then pierced the wall of a guest bedroom in his split-level ranch home, shot through a TV, and cut through another two walls in the house before it lodged in an electrical plate in the bathroom wall.

It was one of at least four bullets that struck and flew through two neighboring homes on the 2000 block of North Pontiac Drive late Saturday night.

Janesville police suspect the bullets came from a gun fired from along North Pontiac Drive, probably from a vehicle. Officers late Saturday night and early Sunday sealed off a block of North Pontiac between Huron Drive and Randolph Road with crime scene tape as they tried checked to see how many homes might have been hit and canvassed leaf-strewn streets and yards for any items tied to the shooting.

On Sunday morning, two men who live in the neighboring homes hit by bullets smoked cigarettes as they showed each other and a Gazette reporter holes where bullets had pierced their siding, windows and walls on the sides of their homes, which both face North Pontiac Drive.

Neither of the men was hurt, but both remained shaken up. Both men declined to give a Gazette reporter their name because they were still leery about their safety in the wake of the shooting.

“I’d like to stay under the radar,” the man who found a bullet lodged in his bathroom wall said.

“But obviously, it’s hard to stay under the radar when your house is taking bullets.”

Both men said they have no idea why somebody would shoot into their homes, and as of Sunday evening, police still hadn’t named any suspects.

The bullet missed the man by “about five feet,” he said, and it narrowly missed hitting a Brett Favre rookie card hanging on a plaque on the wall.

Janesville police Sgt. James Holford said police late Saturday found at least two bullet holes in a house the east side of the 2000 block of North Pontiac Drive. A camper parked next to the house had at least one bullet hole.

On Sunday morning, the police in a crime alert confirmed another house next door was hit in the shooting.

Multiple neighbors reported they had heard several gunshots near the intersection of North Pontiac Drive and Randolph Road at about 10:40 p.m. on Saturday, Holford said.

Holford said nobody appeared to have been injured.

It’s not clear if police investigators recovered any bullets, bullet casings or other evidence overnight, but the man who said he’s got a bullet stuck in his wall said he’d told police they could come take the bullet.

Holford said Saturday there were early indications someone fired a gun from a vehicle in the street. That’s based on the fact the bullets hit multiple houses and a camper.

“Kind of the way the scene sets up, that would be my suspicion,” he said. “That, and the fact that multiple people looked outside and didn’t see anything. I don’t really know how else someone would get out of here that quickly.”

Holford said it might be a few days before police investigating the shooting are in a position to give more details. On Saturday, he said police had no guesses of a possible motive for the shooting.

“It’s up in the air if they were targeted, or there were multiple houses shot at, or if somebody shot at the wrong house thinking it was somebody else’s,” Holford said.

People with information about the shooting are encouraged to contact the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100. People also can call Janesville Area Crime Stoppers at 608-756-3636, or they can download the free “P3 tips” app at the Apple store or Google Play store to give police an anonymous crime tip.


Anthony Wahl 

Avery Holmberg gets comfortable while playing educational games on new computers inside the Boys and Girls Club of Janesville on Thursday.


Death notices and obituaries for Nov. 5, 2018

Gene D. Brah

Robert M. Buetow

Robert Dale Duncan

Leland D. “Lee” Ekleberry, Jr.

Diana L. Newman

Diane A. Stanik-Martin

Lois E. Zingle


A season of hate

Kevyn Perkins stopped cold when he saw the letters scrawled on the door to his dorm: “N----- go back” it said, inked in messy red marker. First he was blinded by confusion. Then rage. And then all he could think about was dropping out, finding a new school, escaping for good.

“I thought maybe I don’t belong here. So I called my brother and I said, ‘Pick me up,’” said Perkins, 19, a freshman at the University of St. Thomas, a private and mostly white school in St. Paul, Minnesota. “He said that’s what they want you to do—you have to stay there and stay strong.”

Often overlooked amid the recent intense spasms of hatred—11 dead in Pittsburgh synagogue, two African-Americans gunned down in a Kentucky grocery store, 13 mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats—are nearly daily flashes of hate that are no less capable of leaving their victims with deep and permanent emotional wounds.

In October alone, there were dozens of examples of the kind of hatred that smolders without ever reaching national attention. It stretched from coast to coast, targeting victims because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and myriad other differences.

An Indiana woman was arrested last week after leaving a racist letter directed at African-American neighbors, urging them to leave the neighborhood because black people weren’t welcome. As early voting started in North Carolina, a black Republican volunteer was accosted with slurs and had a gun pulled on him at a polling place, leading to one man’s arrest. An Uber passenger in Colorado was arrested after threatening his Middle Eastern driver and chasing him down the street because police said he “hated all brown people.” Violent clashes broke out in New York City after a speech by the founder of a far-right group, leading to three arrests.

In a Texas courtroom, a man was sentenced to 24 years in prison on Oct. 17 for torching a mosque near the U.S.-Mexico border last year because of what authorities said was a “rabid hatred” of Muslims. In sending the arsonist to prison, Judge John Rainey declared: “This must stop. It is like a cancer to our society,” adding that incidents like this create “fear all over the world.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said xenophobic rhetoric is feeding the anxiety of the current political moment, and that anxiety is prompting fear and promoting resentment and “all the worst impulses.”

“We’re living in a moment where hate crimes are on the rise,” said Greenblatt. “We need more than ever for our leaders to ratchet back the rhetoric. People feel like they’re on edge across the country.”

President Trump’s critics have accused him of fanning the flames with his divisive political rhetoric—something the president pushed back against Friday. He put the blame back on reporters for “creating violence” with he has called “fake news” stories.

Several cases happened on college campuses, which strive to reflect the nation’s diversity but sometimes attract its intolerance.

At more than 40 colleges, racist flyers or stickers were found posted on campus in October, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which has reported a surge in activity by white supremacist groups since Trump took office.

At the College of the Holy Cross in central Massachusetts, a student was beaten in an assault that officials say was motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.

No one has been arrested in connection with the crime.

Students at DePauw University in Indiana reported four separate cases of hate speech in October. In three, racial and homophobic slurs and threats were yelled from cars passing by campus. In another case, a threat with the N-word was found in an elevator on campus.

Anti-Semitic posters appeared at the University of California, Davis, blaming Jews for allegations of sexual assault that were made against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Several Jewish groups on campus wrote a letter demanding a stronger response from the school’s administration, saying Jews on campus have faced mounting prejudice in recent years.

“Anti-Semitism is very real and alive on our campus,” the letter said. “Jewish students should not have to be scared of walking on campus. Students are choosing not to openly identify as Jews through our clothing.”

For Perkins, the red lettering marred the image of the friendly, welcoming campus that was sold to him by college officials.

The incident led to a student protest that prompted the school to cancel class for a town hall meeting discussing racial tensions on campus.

Since he found the note Oct. 19, Perkins has become more withdrawn, he said, less outgoing. And although he decided to stay at St. Thomas, he’s left to wonder who on campus felt such hatred for him, and why.

“I’m already the odd one out, and the words, the hatred behind it really made me mad,” he said.

“Degrading someone based on the color of their skin, I just couldn’t understand why someone would do that.”


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Voter guide: What's up in Tuesday's elections

Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson estimates more than 66,000 county residents will vote Tuesday.

All those voters might need to know their three W’s and some other voting basics:

What: A series of votes that could change the nation’s direction as Democrats and Republicans vie for control of Congress but also elections of local officials and spending referendums in several area school districts, and:

  • Rock and Walworth county voters will vote in advisory referendums on the dark-store issue, with implications for property tax levels.
  • An advisory referendum in Rock County on the legalization of recreational marijuana.
  • Rock County will choose a new sheriff, as the incumbent is retiring.
  • A small number of votes could easily determine whether Wisconsin gets a different governor for the first time in eight years or keeps the incumbent.
  • Everyone will decide whether to keep incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin or go with Republican challenger Leah Vukmir.

There may be more on your ballot. To see what’s on the ballot in your area, go online to https://myvote.wi.gov.

When: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. statewide. The biggest lines usually form first thing in the morning and at lunch and supper time.

If you’re in line at 8 p.m., the poll should remain open, and you should still be allowed to vote.

Where: If you don’t know where you vote, check with the clerk of your town, village or city, or go online to https://myvote.wi.gov.

Janesville has moved three voting places in recent years:

Those who once voted at Edison Middle School now vote at the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave. Those who voted at Washington Elementary School now vote at Faith Lutheran Church, 2116 Mineral Point Ave. Those who voted at Franklin Middle School now vote at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 2940 Mineral Point Ave.

Photo ID: Voters must present one at the polls. Most will be able to use their driver’s licenses or state ID cards as their photo IDs.

Some out-of-date driver’s licenses can be used if they expired after Nov. 8, 2016.

Some other forms of ID are acceptable. This website has more information: bringitwisconsin.com. Or contact your municipal clerk.

Voters must state their name to the poll workers, who will find their names in the poll book. Voters must also present their photo ID for inspection and sign the poll book.

Registration: Residents must be registered to vote. To check if you are registered, go to https://myvote.gov.

If you’re not registered, you may register at the polls Tuesday. A proof of residence is required. A driver’s license with correct address or state ID card will do the trick.

People may use a bank statement, utility bill or credit card statement with their address on it as proof of residence. The statement does not have to be on paper. It can be on a smart phone.

Don’t forget: Turn your ballot over. There’s more on the back, including a lot of school referendums, Tollefson said.

Confused? Call your local clerk or ask a pollworker. They are usually happy to help, and that’s why they are there.

Troubles? Anyone with concerns about voter fraud or abuse could contact their local municipal clerk. If they don’t get satisfaction, the U.S. attorneys’ offices in Wisconsin will take calls while polls are open.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber can be reached at 608-250-5468.

FBI special agents also will be on duty. Call the FBI in Madison at 608-833-4600 or Milwaukee at 414-276-4684.