Wednesday, February 26, 2020

At least seven dead including shooter in rampage at Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors

Meg Jones 
Sophie Carson 
Published 2:43 p.m. CT Feb. 26, 2020 
Updated 5:12 p.m. CT Feb. 26, 2020

In one of the worst shootings in Wisconsin history, at least seven people were killed — including a gunman — during a shooting rampage Wednesday afternoon on the Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors, according to multiple sources.

Police were called to the brewery complex at 3939 W. Highland Ave. at 2:11 p.m. Eight minutes later, employees were notified by email that an active shooter was in or near the second-floor stairwell of the sprawling factory’s Building 4.

Around 4:45 p.m. police reported there was no active threat but the scene was still active, and asked people to say clear of the area. Police also set up a staging area for Molson Coors employees and families in the Harley-Davidson factory parking lot on Juneau Avenue.

“It is a horrible, horrible day for the employees here. It is a very rough day for anyone who is close to this situation,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said at the scene at 4:30 p.m.

The brewery was on lock-down, according to Twitter users whose spouses work inside. Other nearby businesses and schools also were not allowing people in or out.

Fire Department emergency radio broadcasts from Broadcastify captured the first chaotic minutes when emergency responders arrived, painting a vivid picture of the scene.

"I just overheard on the radio seven — seven — victims. We might want to get some more med units here," a fire commander said over the radio.

"Start building rescue task forces," another fire commander ordered over the radio.

Then another commander came on the radio.

"I just had a police officer inform me that the shooter committed suicide and (the officer) believes they have six victims besides the shooter," the fire commander reported to dispatchers.

Shortly after that, a Fire Department commander called more paramedic units to the scene.

"Start the casualty collection point and let's start working on getting med rigs (paramedic units) in here," the commander said over the radio.

Paramedic units from Milwaukee and West Allis were dispatched, along with officers from the FBI, ATF, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Marquette University Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Police blocked off the scene at North 35th and West State streets. Highway 175 was also closed at West State and Vliet streets.

Firefighters and police officers were responding to the scene clad in ballistic gear.

As of 4:30 p.m. Froedtert Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in eastern Wisconsin, reported no victims had been taken to its emergency facility.

Seven people were killed including a gunman during a shooting rampage on the Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors on Wednesday, according to sources. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Employees inside Molson Coors were frantically trying to get in contact with those on the outside. James Boyles said his wife, Lasonya Ragdales, told him by text that she was locked in a room with co-workers. She works in the claims department.

Ald. Russell Stamper, whose district includes the Molson Coors brewery, offered condolences to the victims and their co-workers.

“The vile and heinous deadly violence that was perpetrated at the brewery complex today has no place in our society and makes no sense,” Stamper said in a statement. “The cold disregard for human lives and the lack of value for human life that was shown must be categorically denounced across Milwaukee, across Wisconsin and throughout our nation.”

Nearby schools locked down included Marquette University High School, 3401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Woodlands School, 3121 W. State St., and Story Elementary School, 3815 W Kilbourn Ave.

At Woodlands School, Andre Kimbrough said he, along with many other parents, went to pick up their children at the end of school around 3:15 p.m., but got a call from school officials about the lock-down. Many parents were circling the block waiting for an all-clear.

Kimbrough said he could see a "stream of police cars," ambulances and fire trucks. He felt good that the kids were safe inside.

"I'm more worried about how they feel," Kimbrough said. "They must be kind of freaking out."

A worker who answered the phone at Highland Educational Academy, a private group child care center at 4212 W. Highland Blvd., said around 3 p.m. that they released children as normal.

"Thank God, it's not us," she said.

Milwaukee Public Schools spokeswoman Shahree Douglas said in a statement that Story School was on lock-down, with all students and staff safe in the building.

Douglas said at about 3:45 p.m. that all students and staff would stay in the building until the fire department gave them clearance to let people leave.

At Story School a teacher was seen comforting a visibly shaken mother terrified that her children were in danger. She had rushed to the school after hearing the news.
Other mass shootings in Wisconsin

In the last 20 years, Wisconsin has been the scene of six mass murders.

The worst was in 2005, when seven people were killed and four wounded at a Living Church of God service at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield. The shooter, a 44-year-old computer technician, then killed himself.

A year earlier, a Hmong immigrant and naturalized citizen killed six people while deer hunting in northern Wisconsin.

In 2007, two mass shootings happened just months apart. In June, five people were killed in Delavan when a man shot his twin sons, his wife, her sister, a friend, and then himself. In October, six were killed when a Forest County Sheriff's Deputy went on a rampage at his ex-girlfriend's apartment.

Two mass shootings also happened in 2012. In August, six were killed at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek by a shooter who committed suicide. And in October, three were killed at Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield.

Emergency vehicles are at North 35th and West State streets. Molson Coors said Wednesday there was an active shooter on its Milwaukee campus. (Photo: Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
About Molson Coors

Molson Coors Beverage Co., which operates MillerCoors, on Oct. 30 announced plans to close a Denver office and relocate hundreds of corporate support jobs to the Milwaukee office, 3939 W. Highland Blvd.

The brewer now has 610 jobs at the Milwaukee office. Corporate functions based there include human resources, financing and information technology.

Also, the main brewery on West State Street and a smaller, recently expanded brewery, at 1515 North 10th St., together have 750 jobs.

The restructuring announced last fall is designed to cut costs, with 400 to 500 jobs being eliminated throughout Molson Coors. The consolidation also will bring together employees in central locations so they can better work together.

Molson Coors has seen continuing sales declines as it faces steadily increasing competition from craft brewers, as well as other makers of alcoholic drinks. Its recent name change, from Molson Coors Brewing Co., reflects increased investment in cider, seltzer and other alcoholic drinks.

This story will be updated.

Joe Taschler, Gina Barton, Tom Daykin, Jordyn Noennig, Ricardo Torres, Sarah Hauer, John Steppe and Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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