Shooter was alleged victim of possible racial taunts
By J. Coyden Palmer
The Crusader has confirmed the suspected perpetrator in Milwaukee’s mass shooting Wednesday afternoon, February 26 was a 51-year-old African American man named Anthony Ferrill. Ferrill was a worker at the Molson Coors plant in Milwaukee. He had been possibly fired earlier in the day. He allegedly returned to the site and shot five people before shooting himself as law enforcement from several different agencies were responding to the chaotic scene.
The shooting took place in a building that houses the human resources department of Molson Coors. It has been reported by media outlets that Ferrill had been recently fired. However a statement from the company said the person who did the shooting was a current employee.
The plant is a sprawling campus that takes up approximately two square miles in the heart of Milwaukee in the Miller Valley community. The Harley Davidson Motor Company headquarters are across the street from Molson Coors. It was placed on lockdown during the shooting spree.
Ferrill worked as an electrician at the plant for over 20 years and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Milwaukee. A motive for the shooting is believed to be a personal dispute between Ferrill and another electrician at the plant, according to sources the Crusader spoke with. One of the victims is believed to be the man Ferrill was having a dispute with. Ferrill believed he was being discriminated against at the company because of his race. There are also reports that Ferrill was the victim of racist taunts from some of his co-workers.
Court records in Wisconsin show Ferrill had no previous criminal offenses. He was cited for a traffic ticket in 2016 in neighboring Racine County. Ferrill was also the plaintiff in a lawsuit involving Sean P. Slattery for a traffic accident in 2013. The case was settled in 2015 for an undisclosed amount. In a 2015 lawsuit, Ferrill sued American Family Mutual Insurance Company. His attorney in that case was Steven C. Gabert.
Ferrill is married to Tyrella Ferrill and the couple have two children, a boy and girl. They have lived at the home in the 8200 block of W. Potomac Ave. in Milwaukee since 2004.
Neighbors that the Crusader spoke with the morning after the shooting described Anthony Ferrill as “a good man.” They were shocked by the large police presence on their block. Though many say they knew he carried a gun for security, they never felt he would use his gun in such a heinous fashion. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is currently tracing the gun(s) used in the attack to discover their origin. Law enforcement sources in Wisconsin tell the Crusader at least two handguns were used in carrying out the crime.
Reactions from political leaders in the area was swift. There were calls for more gun control measures. But most politicians kept their comments restricted to combatting the amount of violence in general in society.
“Acts of violence like this shake our communities to their core,” began a joint statement from State Senator LaTonya Johnson and State Representative Evan Goyke. “We all deserve to feel safe at home, at work, and in our community. Molson Coors is a part of our community and we are a part of theirs. They have been a part of Milwaukee’s near west side for over 100 years. We grieve over the loss of life and pledge to work to build the safest community we can. We are grateful for all that Molson Coors has done in conjunction with the Near Westside Partners to bring our neighborhoods together.”
Molson Coors Company leaders were at an industry conference in Texas when the incident began. Upon hearing the news, the company’s CEO returned to Milwaukee and released the following statement to media members who had gathered at the company’s headquarters.
“We’re closing our Milwaukee office for the remainder of the week and the Milwaukee Brewery will remain shut down for the time being as well, to ensure our people have time to cope with this tragic event,” said Gavin Hattersley, Molson Coors CEO. “We ask that everyone be respectful of how our colleagues in Milwaukee are feeling during this incredibly difficult time and do what you can to be supportive.”