'Emotions are raw': MPD tactical officers share response to Molson Coors shooting
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- One year ago Friday, police across Milwaukee raced to the Molson Coors Brewery to stop a shooter.
They found a chaotic, complex scene.
Officers from the police department's tactical unit are sharing their experiences.
They had a job to do, but they faced a daunting task.
"We jumped into another squad car, went to where we thought it was happening on State Street," said Milwaukee Police Officer James Sommer.
Sommer said the first calls sent some officers to the brewery headquarters, not where the shooting occurred, as the department raced to the scene. After getting flagged down to the right location, tactical officers rushed ahead.
"You open a door and there were a lot of machines, so you couldn't hear, so there were people still working in other areas while we were searching for victims and the shooter, that didn't know what was going on," said Sommer.
"You know the artist M.C. Escher, that is what I stepped into," said Milwaukee Police Officer Erin Tischer.
She said the noise and number of people all added to the stress. They rushed past other officers treating victims and found other employees hiding for their lives.
"You want to step in front of everybody, because you want to keep everybody safe," said Tischer.
Police records show they found the gunman's body 20 minutes after the first 911 call, but tactical officers worked hours longer to sweep and secure the brewery, while carrying a weight of their own.
"Emotions are raw because we had lost somebody to gun violence, and then to respond to such a heinous incident where other victims lost their lives due to gun violence, it strikes a chord with us," said Tischer.
Police Officer Matthew Rittner was killed serving a search warrant in February 2019. It weighs heavily on these officers as they do their best to keep their partners and the public safe.
"You kind of put your own safety on the backburner because you want to stop this from happening to anybody else," said Sommer.
The police department has used the response to Molson Coors as part of their training for future active shooter calls.
It's training they hope they don't need to use.