Bernell Trammell was quite well known in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.
Trammell, who was 60, ran eXpressions Journal for many years out of a storefront on East Wright Street. He could often be seen carrying his homemade Trump 2020 signs, or signs about politics and religion — always ready to engage people in conversation.
Friends and neighbors said he was always pleasant and happy to talk with.
“……[Trammell] was a man with whom I hardly ever agreed about anything he wrote on his signs, but also, as a Rasta street preacher, he was one of the people that make my neighborhood so uniquely wonderful. Around 12:30 this afternoon I heard gunshots nearby as I was working at my dining room table. Soon after, I was reading reports on social media of a shooting around the block, at the location of this one-of-a-kind storefront that I’ve walked by a million times… Peace and light, Ras Bernell.” said Kevan Penvose.
Local blogger Adebisi Agoro, 39, spoke with Trammell in his shop just hours before the shooting and documented the encounter in his blog, The God Degree.
“He was a positive guy,” Agoro said. “I didn’t see him being mean or violent at all toward anybody while he was outside with his signs. He’d be on his bike. I’d see him pretty much daily…He’s like a Milwaukee character.”
Many Wisconsin State Republicans are calling for a federal investigation into the murder of Mr. 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,” said Andrew Hitt, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
“No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affiliation,” he added.
Milwaukee police have released very little information, other than to confirm the fatal shooting, which took place at 12:31 p.m. on the 900 block of East Wright Street, near North Bremen Street.
Reggie Moore, director of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention, said he recently intervened in a dispute between Trammell and a young man. Moore thought the incident was related to a Trump sign that Trammell was carrying.
Milwaukee police are encouraging anyone with information about the shooting to call (414) 935-7360 or Milwaukee Crime Stoppers at (414) 224-TIPS.