MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee police are responding to what they are calling a “critical incident” on the Molson Coors Brewing Co. campus amid reports of a possible shooting.
Reports are a fired employee opened fire at the facility.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said, “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.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Barrett did not give an exact number of people killed.
“It is a horrible, horrible day for the employees here. It’s a very rough day for anyone who is close to this situation,” the mayor said.
Police tweeted that there was no longer an active threat. Authorities did not immediately release details about the shooter or how the shooting unfolded.
It 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.
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.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was on his way to the scene. Attorney General Josh Kaul called the shooting “gut-wrenching.”
“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.
Associated Press writers Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota, Meghan Hoyer in Washington and Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.