A late-night fatal stabbing outside a State Street-area bar Wednesday comes at a time when Madison police have beefed up their presence to combat a wave of alcohol-fueled crime that has Downtown residents and UW-Madison students on edge.So what do you think, Madison people? Are the police doing enough? I'm not swallowing the it was Wednesday excuse.
The latest incident — Madison's sixth murder of the year — claimed the life of Juan J. Bernal, 22, of Madison. Police said Bernal was not a student.
Madison police responded to an area outside the Plaza Tavern and Grill, 319 N. Henry St., around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday after a report of a stabbing and later arrested Justin R. Stout, 31, of Madison....
Plaza Tavern owner Dean Hetue said his staff told him the two arrested men left the bar, then waited outside for Bernal. He was stabbed right outside the bar's front door after he came out to have a cigarette, Hetue said....
The Plaza Tavern is in an area including State Street where Madison police have launched an effort to control alcohol-related crime and disorder. The Downtown Safety Initiative, which began this spring, employs officers working overtime in targeted areas on selected Friday and Saturday nights to patrol the vibrant State Street area, which draws a sometimes-volatile mixture of drunken students, the homeless and criminals seeking easy prey.
The program was developed in response to an increase in violent street crime Downtown, including a disturbing pattern of weekend bar-time muggings of male college students in the spring of 2006 and the murder the following year of UW-Whitewater student Kelly Nolan, 22. Nolan disappeared after she left a State Street bar in June 2007. Her body was found about three weeks later south of Madison in the town of Dunn.
Madison Police Capt. Mary Schauf said there were no extra officers on duty Wednesday night because "Wednesday night is not one of the nights that's normally targeted for extra resources."
September 5, 2008
The Wisconsin State Journal: