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Police: 6 dead, including gunman, in shooting at Milwaukee brewery complex

Updated: February 26, 2020 10:08 PM

An employee opened fire Wednesday at Milwaukee’s Molson Coors complex, killing five fellow workers before taking his own life, police said.

The gunman was identified as a 51-year-old Milwaukee man who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

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“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, finish their day and return to their families. They didn’t - and tragically they never will,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Authorities offered no immediate motive for the attack.

Police tweeted that there was no longer an active threat. Authorities did not immediately release details about the shooter or how the shooting unfolded.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting before speaking at the White House with reporters about steps his administration is taking 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. At least 600 people work at the complex, which is widely known in the Milwaukee area as “Miller Valley," a reference to the Miller Brewing Co. that is now part of Molson Coors.

Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley called the shooter “an active brewery employee.”

“Unfortunately, I am devastated to share that we lost five other members of our family in this tragic incident,” he said in a statement. “There are no words to express the deep sadness many of us are feeling right now.”

He said the office would be closed the rest of the week and the brewery shuttered “for the time being” to give people time to cope.

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 facility and told her husband that there was an active shooter and she was locked in a room with a bunch of co-workers, the Journal Sentinel reported.

“Miller Valley” features a 160-year-old brewery, with a packaging center that fills thousands of cans and bottles every minute and a distribution center the size of five football fields. A massive red Miller sign towers over the complex and is a well-known symbol in Milwaukee, where beer and brewing are intertwined in the city's history.

The facility is also home to corporate customer service, finance, human resources and engineering. Tours take people to underground caves where beer was once stored, a saloon with intricate woodwork, a stein hall with stained-glass windows, a champagne room meeting hall with leaded-glass windows, and an outdoor beer garden that can hold 300 people.

Before Wednesday's shooting, there had been three mass killings nationwide in 2020, with 12 total victims. All have been shootings. In 2019, there were 44 mass killings, with 224 total victims. The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killings database tracks all U.S. homicides since 2006 involving four or more people killed over 24 hours regardless of weapon, location, victim-offender relationship or motive. 

The last mass shooting in the Milwaukee area was in August 2012, when white supremacist Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others at a Sikh temple in suburban Oak Creek. Page killed himself after being wounded in a shootout with police. The worst mass shooting in the area in the past 20 years was in 2005, when seven people were killed and four wounded at a church service in Brookfield, a Milwaukee suburb. The shooter killed himself.

Editors note: Initial reports stated that 7 individuals were killed, updates from police corrected that information to 6 total killed.

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Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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