MILWAUKEE — At least six people were killed on Wednesday afternoon after a gunman, apparently a disgruntled employee, opened fire at a Molson Coors complex in Milwaukee, local and federal officials said.
“It’s frightening,” said Representative Gwen Moore, a Democrat whose district includes Milwaukee. She said the gunman was an employee of the brewing company who was in uniform. “It’s anathema to the kind of culture that we expect. This is heartbreaking because Milwaukee is a very friendly city.”
Police officers blocked off traffic near the site of the shooting on Wednesday evening as reporters gathered near the faded Victorians and brick apartment buildings within a short walk of the complex. Mayor Tom Barrett said the gunman was believed to be among the dead. City officials expected to provide more details later Wednesday, calling it a “very fluid situation.”
The Milwaukee police did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment, but they said on Twitter that they were responding to a “critical incident” near the Molson Coors complex.
Local television stations showed police cars and officers with rifles descending on the area.
Neighborhood residents were gathered in shock.
“I heard the sirens and came out to see what was going on,” said Shelly Zais, 59, who lives at 34th and State Streets. “I figured someone had to be killed, there were so many sirens. I knew it was different.”
State Senator La Tonya Johnson, a Democrat whose district includes the shooting scene, said the Molson Coors complex was a point of pride in Milwaukee. The company, still called MillerCoors by many in the area, continued to invest in the city and pay competitive wages even when some other employers left.
“The district has changed over the years, and so has the community surrounding MillerCoors — and they stayed,” Ms. Johnson said as she drove from the State Capitol to the shooting scene. “They’re committed.”
Molson Coors said in a statement that there was “an active situation at our Milwaukee facility and we are working closely with the Milwaukee Police Department.”
“Our top priority is our employees and we’ll provide updates in conjunction with the police as we are able,” the company said.
Kiandre Ford, 27, who works in the lobby of the Harley-Davidson building nearby, said he got a phone call requesting that the building be locked down after the company alerted that there was an active shooter in the area.
“We heard from higher-ups — I didn’t know what was going on myself,” Mr. Ford said. “I got a call, and the Harley-Davidson building is now on lockdown.”
An official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that there was an “active shooter” at the complex and said the agency was helping to respond from its Milwaukee office.
The complex is in the heart of Milwaukee’s Miller Valley, about three miles west of downtown, and includes a corporate office, a skywalk and a health and fitness center, according to Hunzinger Construction Company, which renovated the campus.
In October, Molson Coors announced that it was closing its Denver office and shifting some jobs to Milwaukee, as part of a corporate restructuring plan that was expected to result in the loss of 400 to 500 jobs across the company.
Julie Bosman reported from Milwaukee, Michael Levenson from New York and Mitch Smith from Chicago. Kay Nolan contributed reporting from Milwaukee and Sandra E. Garcia and Neil Vigdor from New York.