'It's a tragedy:' Employees, family members react to deadly shooting at Molson Coors

’It’s a tragedy: ’ Employees, family members react to deadly shooting at Molson Coors

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Molson Coors employees working inside the facility described the terrifying moments they heard the gunshots that left five employees dead on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Many of them hid for their safety.

CBS 58 spoke to a 40-year-old utility worker of Molson Coors who said he was 15-20 feet from the gunshots and saw a body.

"Heard what I thought was gunshots, but -- and we thought somebody was playing a game by throwing something down the stairs, you know? No, it was a body. Unfortunately, I don't know who it was yet, I'll know tomorrow probably."

Employees say they have had active shooter training in the past and were told to stay in place until police came. They say they weren't allowed to go back and get their jackets or keys as they left, so many had to get picked up by their loved ones.

A family member of one of the employees said his wife texted him there was an active shooter, then he didn't hear from her for a while.

"When it first happens you don't know what's going on and thank God she's okay," said Jerry Lange. "Thank God she's okay. It was a tragedy, it's a tragedy."

Employees say they're thankful to be alive, but are heartbroken for their follow coworkers who didn't make it home from work Wednesday night.

The shooting also impacted a number of homes directly surrounding the Molson Coors campus.

It started out as chaos for families near Molson Coors, as swat teams and federal agents descended on their neighborhood.

When the shooting first happened, police quickly established a perimeter to block traffic or anyone else from entering the area because of the active shooter. 

For some, that meant they couldn't reenter their homes. Other neighbors found out from friends or relatives about the shooting and worried for their own safety. 

Law enforcement was going in and out of the neighborhood for well over four hours, first to contain the situation and then to investigate. It set off a panic before neighbors found out what happened.

"Two cop cars was coming, and one of them almost hit me," said Anastasia Vargas, who lives near Molson Coors. "Then I see they blocked off that street right down the clinic on 35th and Wisconsin. They closed it down. Then they started heading home, and there was another cop car out here that closed off these streets, so I turned over here to see what happened, and I see all this stuff over here."

Once police learned the situation was contained and the suspect gunman had died, they reopened the area to residents.

The active shooter alert also forced an evacuation at nearby Story Elementary School. 

One student described the confusion he felt when teachers gave the code red.

"They told us to wait in the back. All of us were just kind of in shock because we didn't know what was going on," the student said. 

Parents rushed to the school to make sure their kids were okay. One father expressed the relief he and other parents felt, while knowing that several people were killed just down the street.

"Parents that were seeing their kids, they were just happy to make sure they were alright," said parent Ryan Hull. "Even though they knew it was happening down the street. Still, you want to make sure they're okay."

Thankfully no one was hurt amid the lockdown.

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