Wisconsin Public Radio

Hundreds Attend Vigil For Molson Coors Shooting Victims

More than 400 prayed, held hands in honor of the victims of Wednesday's shooting.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Feb 28th, 2020 11:36 am
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The Ridge Community Church in Greenfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, held a vigil Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, for the victims killed in the Feb. 26, 2020 shooting at Molson Coors in Milwaukee. Photo by Alana Watson/WPR.

The Ridge Community Church in Greenfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, held a vigil Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, for the victims killed in the Feb. 26, 2020 shooting at Molson Coors in Milwaukee. Photo by Alana Watson/WPR.

In the wake of a shooting at the Molson Coors brewery complex in Milwaukee on Wednesday, more than 400 community members gathered at Ridge Community Church to pray for the Molson Coors community.

“My heart is truly, truly heavy,” said Wanda Welch from Milwaukee County. She said she was in a business meeting when she heard the news. Welch said she prays often, but she was saying a special prayer Thursday night.

“I really feel that we need to continuously petition our legislators and work with politicians and the community to help better this world,” she said.

Thursday night’s vigil took place at the church’s Greenfield campus. Before the vigil began, attendees gathered outside the church’s auditorium and helped themselves to coffee and an array of snacks. People greeted each other with smiles and hugs as they reflected on Wednesday’s tragedy.

As the vigil got underway, the mood turned more somber. People sat in chairs in the church auditorium holding hands, while chaplains walked around praying for those who needed it.

Ridge’s lead pastor, Mark Weigt, led the vigil and encouraged those in attendance to “breathe, mourn and pray.”

“A lot of times we need to grieve, and we don’t know how to start, or we don’t know what to do, and we do one or two things, we’ll actually start the grieving process in a healthy way or we’ll do it in an unhealthy way,” he said Thursday night.

Ridge Community Church lead pastor Mark Weigt led a vigil Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 to pray for the Molson Coors community after a shooting left five people, and the gunman dead. Photo by Alana Watson/WPR.

Ridge Community Church lead pastor Mark Weigt led a vigil Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 to pray for the Molson Coors community after a shooting left five people, and the gunman dead. Photo by Alana Watson/WPR.

The church announced the vigil on social media saying everyone needs the opportunity to wrestle and grieve together.

“We felt like there needed to be a space for people to come to, and I think there’s something important in times like this where we are together,” Weigt explained. He said he was shocked about the news Wednesday afternoon.

“I didn’t believe it honestly when I first heard it, because I didn’t see it on the news or anything like that, someone told me. It was just one of those things. I was just shocked,” he said.

On Wednesday, a 51-year old Milwaukee man named Anthony Ferrill who worked for Molson Coors killed five people and then himself. On Thursday, Milwaukee police also identified the victims of the shooting. They include: Jesus Valle Jr, 33; Gennady Levshetz, 61; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 57; and Dale Hudson, 60. All were employees of Molson Coors.

Law enforcement is still investigating the shooting and have not released a motive.

The Molson Coors campus is located on West Highland Boulevard and includes brewing facilities and corporate offices. At least 1,000 people work there.

After the shooting, law enforcement officials cleared more than 20 buildings at one of the nation’s largest breweries.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the shooting. An employee told WPR on Thursday afternoon that they’re hoping to return to work next week.

Editor’s note: WPR’s Jenny Peek contributed to this report. 

Listen to the WPR report here.

Community Members Gather To Pray For Victims Of Molson Coors Shooting was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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