MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said five Miller Brewery employees were fatally shot at their workplace near 41st Street and State Street Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 26. The shooter, a Milwaukee man, 51, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooter was an employee. No members of the public were involved.
The shooting happened just after 2 p.m. at the Molson Coors Beverage Company — the old Miller Brewery.
On Wednesday evening, police were screening people and checking off workers one by one — an arduous task. Chief Morales said more than 1,000 were working at the time.
“We have several people we need to talk to, and we have to go through a roll call and identify who’s missing,” said Chief Morales.
The names of the victims were not released Wednesday, due to family notifications.
“It’s a terrible day for Milwaukeeans, and I pass on my condolences to the families of the employees of Miller, and to the employees of Miller, or Molson Coors,” said Chief Morales.
An employee told FOX6 the Milwaukee campus would remain closed for the rest of the week. FOX6 obtained this letter from Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley, shared with employees:
The shooting happened in the Miller Valley amid Molson Coors’ annual conference in Houston. KTRK reported employees, including distributors from across the country, were at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston for the three-day conference, which began Monday, Feb. 24, and was being held for distributors. KTRK reported a reception that was planned after the conference was canceled, along with other events, and Hattersley addressed attendees, making them aware of the shooting before flying back to Milwaukee.
“This is a tragic day for our city,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “This is a tragic day for our state. Five families, six families, actually, are grieving and will be grieving because of this horrific act of this individual. This is a time for us to think about those families because 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.”
“We’re here on the scene of another American tragedy, another senseless American tragedy, one that shouldn’t have to happen,” said Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. “Unfortunately, it’s in our backyard, and I hate to say this. This is the 11th mass shooting in our state since 2004. I especially want to thank the first responders who, frankly, are still responding to the situation. I want to offer my condolences to the family, the friends, the co-workers of everybody involved, but I also want to issue a call, a challenge, because we shouldn’t accept this. This isn’t the way things should be, and we should never grow comfortable in the face of these repeated tragedies all across America, and especially right here at home, we have a duty to act. We have to be more responsible as a city, as a state, as a nation to stop these preventable tragedies from happening. It doesn’t happen anywhere else but here. I know a whole lot of people who, I’m friends with a whole lot of folks who work in those halls. I’ve spent time with them on my personal time and during campaigns, and I’ve got friends, and I’m actually worried to see whose lives were lost in this tragedy, and this is something that, five people who went to work, who thought they would come home, you think about families of the individuals, people who just want to earn an honest living, and will unfortunately not be making it home tonight.”
“The hearts of the people of Wisconsin go out to folks that were needlessly murdered at Molson Coors this afternoon,” said Governor Tony Evers. “The first lady and I will be praying tonight together, for the lives that have been lost. It is a tragedy, yes, but it is a tragedy for the entire state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a strong state. What happens in Milwaukee impacts people all across the state, from Cornucopia to Kenosha. My role here tonight is to bring as many prayers as I can carry from the hearts of the people of Wisconsin for the losses that have occurred.”
MillerCoors employees ‘shaken’ amid ‘intense situation’
Here’s a look at the alert employees received:
One MillerCoors employee who works in accounts receivable said they were placed under lockdown, and described an “intense situation.” She said no one was being allowed to leave. She shared video with FOX6 — showing multiple officers responding to the incident.
The wife of a MillerCoors employee told FOX6 her husband witnessed one of the shootings. She said he was “very shaken up,” and was driving home from work when FOX6 spoke with her. She told FOX6: “All he said so far was that he saw a guy get shot in the head about 15 ft from him. He is an Army Vet and is having difficulty processing this shooting.”
Fast facts on Miller Brewing in Milwaukee
- 8.5 million barrels of beer brewed here every year in Milwaukee.
- 1,400 jobs in Milwaukee.
- Founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller in Milwaukee.
Molson Coors Beverage Co. is the corporate parent company of MillerCoors. At the end of 2019, Milwaukee Mayor To Barrett announced Molson Coors was moving hundreds of corporate office jobs to Milwaukee, in addition to the 1,400 existing Milwaukee jobs. While the company announced a net “hundreds” of jobs would be added, they did say some jobs would be moved or lost here in Milwaukee due to the corporate restructuring.
Molson Coors headquarters is in Denver, Colorado. The company employs about 17,750 workers internationally, according to Fortune.com.