MILWAUKEE — The employee who stormed the Molson Coors complex in Milwaukee and his five co-workers who were killed when he opened fire have been identified.
The victims were Jesus Valle, 33; Gennady Levshetz, 51; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 58; and Dale Hudson, 50, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales told reporters.
They were electricians, powerhouse operators and machinists at the facility, according to Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley.
“They were part of the fabric of our company and our community,” Hattersley said.
Police named the suspect in Wednesday’s shooting as 51-year-old Anthony Ferrill. The company had said the shooter was an “active” employee at the sprawling facility.
Morales did not provide details on a possible motive.
“There are five individuals 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. They didn’t and tragically they never will,” Mayor Tom Barrett said.
Shooting reports came in at 2:08 p.m.
More than 1,000 people were working at the campus when police received reports of a shooting at 2:08 p.m., Morales said. The complex includes a mix of corporate offices and brewing facilities.
Minutes later, employees received texts and emails from the company warning them about the gunman.
“Active shooter, find a safe place, active shooter on campus. Reply with YES to confirm receipt,” the first text read.
“Active shooter. We are still on lockdown, please remain in a safe place, police are investigating. Reply with YES to confirm receipt,” another one said.
Scores of police officers, SWAT teams and FBI agents rushed to the scene and could be seen walking around the Miller Valley neighborhood, which is named after the iconic 160-year-old brewery.
First responders called it a ‘war zone’
Fire dispatch audio described a chaotic scene with first responders calling it a “war zone.”
“Start the casualty collection at this point … and let’s start working out getting some meds in here,” a voice says.
When police arrived at the scene, they screened employees and checked them off one by one before securing the area hours later and allowing them to go home, WITI said.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said the incident marks the 11th mass shooting in Wisconsin since 2004.
“We are here on the scene of another American tragedy. Another senseless American tragedy. One that shouldn’t have to happen and unfortunately it’s in our backyard. And I hate to say that it is in our backyard once again,” he said.
When the shooting happened, Molson Coors was hosting an annual conference in Texas. Company CEO Gavin Hattersley was at the event and suddenly announced he was leaving, according to a source familiar with the company.
The corporate offices will be closed for the rest of the week and the breweries will remain closed until further notice.
“This is an unthinkable tragedy for us,” Hattersley said.
A prayer vigil for the victims was set for 7 p.m. Thursday at The Ridge Community Church, about 10 miles from the Molson Coors site.
Gov. Tony Evers ordered state and US flags lowered to half-staff Thursday “in honor of the victims of the mass shooting at the Molson Coors campus,” his office said.
A group of Lutheran Church Charities comfort dogs visited the nearby Story Elementary School, where students went on lockdown during the shooting, and will remain in Milwaukee until next week, the charities said.