Frank Nitty Security Guard Shot During March From Milwaukee to D.C.

The shooting happened in Pennsylvania, about 600 miles into their march.

A member of Milwaukee protest leader Frank Nitty’s security detail suffered gunshot wounds while traveling through western Pennsylvania, according to livestream broadcasts on Facebook late Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

One broadcast showed Nitty holding and comforting an injured and bleeding man who a woman on the feed said had been shot three to four times, with some of the shots hitting him in the head. Nitty described the wounds as being caused by shrapnel. 

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the shooting that took place at about 10:35 p.m. Central Time on Monday in Juniata Township. Investigators said a local resident and a “group of individuals” engaged in an argument, which culminated in “exchanged gunfire.” One person was struck and is being treated for non life-threatening injuries at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 

Two individuals are being questioned at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Bedford, according to police. The investigation is ongoing.

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Since Aug. 4, Nitty has been leading a march from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C., attempting to log an average of 30 miles per day over the course of 26 days so he can arrive in the nation’s capital for the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963, calling for an end to racism.

The woman heard on the livestream said it took 30 to 40 minutes for the group to eventually reach a hospital, identified as Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, where the injured person finally received treatment. Johnstown is a hardscrabble industrial city about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. The shooting, according to Nitty and others on the videostream, occurred in rural Bedford County.

Johnstown police officers arrived at the hospital and spoke with Nitty and other members of his party outside the facility. Nitty told the officers that he is with a group of 40 to 45 people and had just started walking again after a break when a man armed with what appeared to be a shotgun came out of a house and began shooting at them. Nitty said a second person also fired shots at the group.

A video posted on the Facebook site of Vaun Mayes, another Milwaukee protest leader, showed a man with blood streaming down his face scrambling to get into one of the vehicles that has been traveling with Nitty’s group. Gunshots could be heard on the video as could the frantic voices of several people as they tried to leave the scene. 

A police officer at the hospital described the victim’s injuries as being to the face, neck and shoulder, possibly caused by buckshot. 

A Johnstown police officer informed Nitty that the investigation would be turned over to the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department, which has jurisdiction over the location where the shooting occurred. 

A police dispatch supervisor with the Johnstown Police Department confirmed that an individual who had been with a group of protesters had arrived at a city hospital with a gunshot wound but said officers were still collecting information and were still unclear about what occurred.

A nursing supervisor at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital, contacted around 1 a.m. Central Time, said she could not provide any patient information at that time.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.