He ‘gave freedom to everyone’s voice’: A week after shooting death of Bernell Trammell, friends keep his legacy alive
“Everybody has a voice. Everybody’s voice has power,” longtime friend Pia Lombardi recalled Trammell saying.
When he was shot and killed last week outside his Riverwest office, Trammell’s own voice was silenced, Lombardi said.
Because Trammell was outspoken about religion and politics — and supported President Donald Trump — some suspect he was targeted for his beliefs. Prominent conservatives have called for a federal investigation into his death, and the suspicion of a political motivation made national news and gained traction on social media.
Those who knew Trammell said they don’t know why he was killed and can’t understand why anyone would shoot him. More than a week after his death, they don’t have any answers. Police have asked the public’s help in looking for a suspect in the shooting and have offered a cash reward for tips.
About 15 years ago, Fox used to see Trammell around Riverwest, dressed in a leather jacket and leather chaps.
In the 1990s Hotelling used to read eXpressions Journal and even submitted his artwork to the publication a few times. He appreciated that Trammell gave a platform to opinions of all kinds without judgment — the willingness to hear someone out has been lost in today’s political discourse, he said.
“It touched our heart because that was the last time we saw him,” Hotelling said.
Patricia Holland also saw Trammell shortly before his death — she estimates about 30 minutes prior.
Holland maintains church gardens in Riverwest and headed last Thursday to Trammell’s shop to plant some flowers in his new flower beds. She left him laughing, promising to water the plants that evening.
“A whole chill came over me,” she said.
Trammell deserves for his killer to be found, Holland said. Somebody in the neighborhood knows something, she said, pointing to the surrounding apartments and homes.
She wants to continue publishing eXpressions Journal. Trammell’s voice may have been silenced, but he’d want Milwaukee to keep talking.