MILWAUKEE (AP) — Molson Coors employees returned to work Monday amid heightened security at the Milwaukee brewery where a worker last week fatally shot five co-workers and then himself.
Additional guards, both armed and unarmed, were patrolling the grounds, according to a company email. Several Milwaukee police vehicles were stationed around the campus and outside the main office building. Employees drove past a security checkpoint and into fenced parking lots, which were filling with vehicles Monday morning.
“We know that seeing police may feel unsettling after all you’ve been through, but I assure you they are here to help us and to support us,” the email to employees said.
Inside the main office lobby, security guards checked the bags of arriving visitors. Similar bag checks were being done at Molson Coors campuses nationwide, the email said.
While employees returned to the office Monday morning, Molson Coors said it planned to open the brewery Monday evening.
Counseling services were being made available to employees.
“We recognize not everyone will feel ready to come back, and that’s absolutely fine. We want to help in any way we can and understand some people may need additional time.” the email said.
Molson Coors spokesman Marty Maloney said no employees were available to talk about their return to work.
“Today is about beginning the healing process,” Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said in a statement.
On Sunday night, a couple of hundred people gathered outside Milwaukee City Hall for a vigil in honor of the victims, the Journal Sentinel reported. They include Jesus Valle Jr., 33, of Milwaukee; Gennady “Gene” Levshetz, 61, of Mequon; Trevor Wetselaar, 33, of Milwaukee; Dana Walk, 57, of Delafield; and Dale Hudson, 60, of Waukesha.
Union officials, politicians, clergy members and others spoke out against violence and hatred. Forward Latino President Daryl Morin said those in the crowd were not separated by political parties, the color of their skin or where they lived.
“We come together as Milwaukeeans. We come together as Wisconsinites,” Morin said. “We will show the nation what it means to be Milwaukee Strong.”
The gunman, Anthony Ferrill, 51, took his own life last Wednesday at the brewery.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, whose congressional district includes the brewery complex, read the names of the victims, but not the name of the shooter. She said she was friends with Levshetz for 25 years and attended his funeral service Sunday.
“I speak their names to remember them, to cherish them,” Moore said.
Pardeep Singh Kaleka, executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, told the crowd: “I know that our faith feels like it’s being tested.”
Kaleka introduced the clergy members, including Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu, who each said prayers.
Kaleka’s father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was among six people fatally shot at a Sikh temple shooting in suburban Oak Creek in 2012. The gunman killed himself.