Molson Coors Beverage Co. employees returned to work on Monday less than a week after an employee went on a shooting rampage, killing five of his co-workers before turning the gun on himself.
Despite the amped-up security at the Milwaukee plant -- which included armed and unarmed patrolmen, Milwaukee police vehicles around the perimeter of the facilities and bag checks -- Molson Coors said it is committed to helping those who want to return to work establish "a sense of normalcy" but has not mandated that everyone come back to work if they don't feel comfortable, according to an email sent to employees.
“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 said.
“We know everyone is grieving and coping with Wednesday’s events in their own way. And we’re all in different stages of the process. While many people are still struggling and aren’t yet ready to come back to work, others want to return to the office and a sense of normalcy. And the reality is some people are unsure what to feel right now. Please know that no matter how you are feeling, it’s okay and we support you."
The company also has counselors on-site and has made available additional resources for employees, Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said in a statement.
“Today is about beginning the healing process. As we welcome our Milwaukee employees back to work for the first time since Wednesday’s tragic shooting, our top priority is supporting our colleagues and ensuring they have the resources they need as we all try to make sense of what happened," Hattersley said.
The brewery will reopen by Monday evening.
The shooting broke out just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday and over 1,000 workers present at the plant scattered for shelter.
The victims were Jesus Valle Jr., 33, of Milwaukee; Gennady Levshetz, 61, of Mequon; Trevor Wetselaar, 33, of Milwaukee; Dana Walk, 57, of Delafield, and 50-year-old Dale Hudson of Waukesha.
Milwaukee police identified the suspected shooter as Anthony N. Ferrill, 51, who worked for the brewing giant for 17 years as an electrician. Police Chief Alfonso Morales did not release a motive for the killings, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Ferrill had a long-running feud with another co-worker that erupted just before the shooting.
Hundreds of mourners honored the victims in a vigil outside of the Milwaukee City Hall and condemned the hateful gun violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.