By Shereen Siewert
Wausau Police are seeking a person of interest in connection with a drive-by shooting with an apparent connection to the near-fatal beating of a 15-year-old boy two days earlier.
Police were called at 2:41 p.m. Wed. July 3 to the area of North First Street and McIndoe Street for a report of a drive-by shooting. As originally reported, there were no injuries as a result of the shooting.
New details were released Monday afternoon about the shooting. Wausau Police say a 17-year-old boy and 18-year-old man were traveling north on the sidewalk adjacent to First Street at McIndoe Street when they were confronted by occupants of a passing vehicle. An occupant of the vehicle fired shots at the two before fleeing the area.
“We believe the victims were targeted by the suspects based upon a perceived association with a related incident that occurred on the evening of Monday, July 1,” Wausau Police Capt. Ben Graham said, in a prepared statement. “In that related incident, ambulance and officers responded at 10:30 p.m. to the 600 block of Chicago Avenue for a 15 year old male who was beaten roadside with a baseball bat. The victim was conveyed by ambulance to a local hospital in critical condition and remains hospitalized.”
Wausau Pilot and Review first broke the story of the beating early Monday.
Following Wednesday’s shooting a suspect vehicle, registered to 35-year-old Amanda J. Lewis, was quickly identified as a vehicle of interest in the shooting and was located in the vicinity of North Sixth Street and Chicago Avenue. Police say the victim in the July 1 beating was a friend of Lewis’ son and was at the Lewis’ home prior to the assault.
Officers seized the vehicle and interviewed several people seen leaving the residence, including Lewis, who was arrested Friday, July 5 in connection with the shooting. Lewis is facing recommended charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime, maintaining a drug trafficking place and obstructing an officer. A probable cause hearing is set for 2 p.m. Monday, after which an initial appearance will be set.
Formal charges are at the discretion of the Marathon County District Attorney.
Police are now asking for the public’s assistance in locating a person of interest, wanted for questioning, in connection with the shooting. The person of interest is 33-year-old Maurice Bell, who also goes by the nickname “JB.”Bell has ties to both Wausau and Chicago, IL, and is also wanted by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Anyone with knowledge of Bell’s whereabouts is asked not to approach Bell, but to contact the Wausau Police Department at 715-261-7811.
Both cases remain under investigation. Should you have information about either incident, please contact the Wausau Police Department at 715-261-7800. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can submit a tip through Marathon County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-877-409-8777 or by visiting www.marathoncountycrimestoppers.org.