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Father killed in triple shooting was protecting his kids, family says

MILWAUKEE -- A father died shielding his children from gunfire in Wisconsin, family members told WITI.

Officers responded to the shooting just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Milwaukee, police said.

Investigators said an ongoing dispute led to the shooting. Multiple shots were fired at a group that included children.

A 4-year-old and a 14-year-old were struck. The younger victim was seriously hurt and the child's father was killed. He's been identified as Eric Williams, 28.

Andre Lee Ellis said Williams was shot while trying to protect his kids, including an infant who was in his arms.

"For a father that would hover over his own baby, take six shots in the back to make sure his baby lived even if he didn't," Ellis said.

The 4-year-old is in intensive care. He suffered four gunshot wounds -- two to the chest and one in each hand, Ellis said. The child is on a breathing tube.

Police said the 14-year-old boy's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Jesse Jefferson, the victims' cousin, said Monday he's having a hard time coping with this loss.

"I wouldn't wish this on nobody. Just missing him right now -- heart kind of heavy," Jefferson said.

He said he's hurt and angered that children were caught in the crossfire.

"Stuff gotta stop man. Hopefully everybody say prayers for our family," Jefferson said.

After 12 homicides in as many days in this community, Ellis and others are begging for change.

"It's about families. It's about the help that is needed to stop all this senseless killing," Ellis said.

Ashley Higgins Jr. rushed to the scene to help the wounded, moments after the shooting.

He told FOX6 News that he heard about nine shots then saw a man and a boy laying on the ground.

"The older man was lying face down on the ground. The little boy, he was up, with multiple shots. His eyes were rolling to the back of his head, so I started talking to him to try to keep him with us," Higgins Jr. recalled.

He saw a police officer nearby and flagged him down.

"So he came over there and he was trying to talk to them, too, telling us to keep talking to them and then all the other officers came and that's when we had to get back," he said. "It was hard because I have a little 7-year-old son and wouldn't even want to imagine."

Police are looking for those involved in the shooting.