Five people were killed after an employee opened fire at the Molson Coors headquarters in Milwaukee on Wednesday, police said.
Milwaukee police said they responded to reports of a shooting in the area just after 2 p.m. and found the gunman, a 51-year-old Milwaukee man, dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities also found five employees of the “old Miller brewery” who had been killed in the attack, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said.
“It’s a terrible day for Milwaukeeans, and I pass on my condolences to the families of the employees,” Morales said Wednesday night.
Identities of the victims would not be released Wednesday because some family members were coming from out of town, Morales said. The chief, who didn’t give a motive for the shooting, said no one else was injured.
By 9:30 p.m., the scene had been secured and all employees had been allowed to go home, Morales said. There are 20 buildings on the beer company’s sprawling campus and there were more than 1,000 employees at the Milwaukee headquarters, Morales said.
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The shooter was an active employee of the Milwaukee brewery, Molson Coors Beverage Co. Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley said in a statement.
“There are no words to express the deep sadness many of us are feeling right now,” Hattersley said. “The most important thing is that we support and care for each other.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said his thoughts were with the six families grieving “because of this horrific act.”
“There were five individuals who went to work today, just like everybody goes to work, and they thought they were going to go to work, would finish their day and go home to their families,” Barrett said. “They didn’t and tragically never will.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers arrived at the scene and led a moment of silence at an evening news conference, saying he and his wife would be praying for the victims’ families.
“Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were senselessly taken today, all of the folks and workers at Molson Coors, and the entire Milwaukee community as we grapple with yet another act of gun violence that will have long-lasting consequences for this community and our state,” Evers said in a statement.
The attack was the 11th mass shooting in the state since 2004, according to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. He said he knew many Molson Coors employees from campaigning and other social events.
“We shouldn’t accept this. This is not the way things should be,” Barnes said. “We should never grow comfortable in the face of these repeated tragedies all across America and especially here at home.”
Molson fully acquired MillerCoors in 2016 and announced last year that it would rebrand the company as Molson Coors Beverage Co. The shift was also part of a corporate restructure that moved hundreds of jobs from Denver to Milwaukee in a cost-cutting measure.
President Donald Trump opened his news conference on the coronavirus Wednesday with condolences for the victims of the shooting, calling the gunman a “wicked murderer.”
“Our hearts break for them and their loved ones,” Trump said. “We’ll be with them, and it’s a terrible thing, a terrible thing.”
Phil Helsel contributed.