Students in virtual classroom witness pastor being gunned down by brother in Milwaukee home

Wisconsin pastor killed while child attends virtual classroom

MILWAUKEE — A virtual classroom full of students overheard the death of a Milwaukee pastor who was gunned down by her brother as a 9-year-old girl attended class in the home, police said.

Mario Stokes, 45, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of 52-year-old Michelle Blackmon. Stokes is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm, according to Milwaukee County court records.

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He is being held without bail in the Milwaukee County Jail. A judge last week ordered a forensic evaluation of Stokes after his attorney said there was reason to believe he was not competent to proceed with the case.

NBC News reported that police and the county medical examiner said Blackmon was shot multiple times in the face the morning of Sept. 11 in the kitchen of her home in the 6800 block of West Silver Spring Drive.

“A school-age child residing at the residence was active in an online classroom when the incident occurred,” according to a report by the medical examiner.

Milwaukee Public Schools spokesman Earl Arms confirmed that the girl is a student in the district.

“It was one of our MPS students that had a shooting happen while they were on the (remote) classroom, and everyone could hear it,” Arms told NBC News.

The girl’s teacher called 911 and sent police to the address she had on file for the girl, whose relationship to Blackmon has not been made public. Officers who went to Blackmon’s home found her dead of two gunshot wounds.

According to WTMJ in Milwaukee, Blackmon’s body was found seated against the stove.

Michelle Blackmon, 52, was shot and killed Sept. 11, 2020, inside her Milwaukee home, pictured in an August 2019 Street View image. Blackmon's brother, Mario Stokes, 45, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in her death.
Michelle Blackmon, 52, was shot and killed Sept. 11, 2020, inside her Milwaukee home, pictured in an August 2019 Street View image. Blackmon's brother, Mario Stokes, 45, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in her death. (Google)

NBC News reported that another resident of the home, who WISN in Milwaukee identified as Stokes' and Blackmon’s sister, was upstairs when she heard five shots ring out. When she went downstairs to see what was going on, she saw Stokes leaving.

“I’m on my way to the police to turn myself in,” Stokes told the woman, according to a criminal complaint.

Stokes walked to a police precinct two blocks away and went to the front desk, where he “informed (an officer) that his sister no longer existed, that he did it and that he used a .380,” the complaint says.

A .380 Smith & Wesson handgun with multiple spent shell casings was found in Blackmon’s kitchen.

Stokes' surviving sister told police he and Blackmon had argued the night before the shooting and Blackmon told Stokes “he would have to leave the house the next day,” the criminal complaint says.

Stokes' firearms charge stems from a 2014 ruling in which Stokes was found guilty but not guilty due to mental disease or defect in a previous gun case, online court records show. He was released from jail, with conditions, but his freedom was revoked in August 2018 after he violated the terms of his release.

Stokes was committed to a psychiatric facility, from which he was released in May 2019, according to the records.

Blackmon is at least the second person whose killing was witnessed by students in a virtual classroom. Maribel Rosado Morales, 32, of Indiantown, Florida, was shot and killed Aug. 11 as her 10-year-old daughter participated in a Zoom call with her classmates.

Morales' ex-boyfriend, Donald L. Williams III, is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in connection with her death.