MILWAUKEE — An employee at Molson Coors in Milwaukee opened fire and killed five other employees before turning the gun on himself.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said around 2 p.m. Wednesday, police officers responded to call of a shooting on the 4000 block of West State Street — the location of the old MillerCoors brewery. Upon arrival, police located the suspected gunman, a 51-year-old man, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police then located five other deceased adults.
Morales said the victims' names will not be released until proper notification is given to the families. The police chief at a press conference Wednesday evening asked the public to respect the victims' families' privacy during this time.
No member of the public was involved in the incident, and that all those who were fatally shot were employees of Molson Coors, police said. Some news outlets reported that the gunman was fired earlier in the day, but Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley called the shooter “an active brewery employee.” No further information about the gunman was provided.
Earlier Wednesday, Mayor Tom Barrett spoke to the press and said it was a horrible day for the employees of Molson Coors.
"It's a very rough day for anybody who is close to this situation," he said,
The mayor said it was a tragic day not just for the city, but for the state and for the families grieving for their loved ones.
"There are five people who went to work today, just like everybody goes to work, and they thought they were going to go to work, finish their day and return to their families," Barrett said, "They didn't. And tragically, they never will."
Officers worked for hours to clear the more than 20 buildings in the complex where more than 1,000 people work. They announced at a late evening news conference that the work was done and all employees had been allowed to go home. Morales said authorities believe the shooter operated alone.
President Donald Trump addressed the shooting before speaking at the White House about his administration's efforts to combat the coronavirus.
“Our hearts break for them and their loved ones,” the president said. "We send our condolences. We’ll be with them, and it’s a terrible thing, a terrible thing.”
The attack occurred at a sprawling complex that includes a mix of corporate offices and brewing facilities. The complex is widely known in the Milwaukee area as “Miller Valley," a reference to the Miller Brewing Co. that is now part of Molson Coors.
James Boyles told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his wife, Lasonya Ragdales, works at Molson Coors in the claims department. She was texting from inside the building and told her husband that there was active shooter and she was locked in a room with a bunch of co-workers, the Journal Sentinel reported.
One employee described seeing a co-worker shot in the head just 15 feet away. Another said he was on the phone with his family assuring them that he was OK when he saw bodies lying on the floor.
The police chief and mayor thanked all the first responders who aided during the incident. Among those included the police and fire departments, the Marquette Police Department and the FBI.
Some employees of Molson Coors were in Houston for a conference at the time of the incident. Company officials flew back to Milwaukee upon notification of the incident.
The shooting was Wisconsin’s 11th mass shooting since 2004.