Five people from four different local communities went to work Wednesday to their jobs at Molson Coors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thinking it would be like any other day. In the words of Mayor Tom Barrett, they “thought they were going to go to work and finish their day and return to their families… and tragically they never will.”
They were remembered by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes as people trying to “make an honest living,” and by their families as loving fathers and husbands who put family first and loved the outdoors, including Wisconsin pursuits like ice fishing.
The first victim was named on a GoFundMe page as Dana Walk. You can read more about how to help Walk’s family later in this article. Later in the afternoon, police identified the victims as Walk; Jesus Valle Jr., 33; Gennady Levshetz, 61; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; and Dale Hudson, 50.
You can see photos and tributes/bios for each victim below in this article. The CEO of Molson Coors said that the victims held a variety of jobs at the company, working as electricians, a machinist, and power house operator. They also come from multiple communities in the Milwaukee area: Waukesha, Mequon, Delafield and Milwaukee.
“This is a tragic day for our city. A tragic day for our state,” Barrett said. “Five families…are grieving and will be grieving because of this horrific act of this individual. This is a time for us to think of those families because there are five individuals who went to work today, just like everyone goes to work…” He called it an “unspeakable tragedy” and a “community tragedy.”
On the day after the tragedy, Barrett said: “What is most important right now is that our community comes together and puts our arms around these grieving families.”
As one Milwaukeean put it on Twitter, speaking for many others: “I go past this brewery everyday. It is part of our Milwaukee. Very terrible loss of life. Prayers for the victims and their families.” Known to locals as the former Miller Brewery, the plant is interwoven into the fabric of the community.
Officials said six people died, including the shooter, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The mass shooting broke out at Molson Coors on the afternoon of February 26, 2020.
Governor Tony Evers asked for a moment of silence. He said the “hearts of the people of Wisconsin go out to the folks who were needlessly murdered.” He said he and the First Lady would pray for the “lives that have been lost… it’s a tragedy for the entire state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a strong state.”
Chief Alfonso Morales called the tragedy “a terrible day for Milwaukeeans,” passing on his condolences.
“We’re a family here and at Molson Coors in Milwaukee, and this is an unthinkable tragedy for us,” a top Molson Coors official, Gavin Hattersley, said.
Barnes said it was the 11th mass shooting in Wisconsin since 2004. He called it another “senseless American tragedy.”
Here’s more information on the lives of each victim:
The GoFundMe page for Dana Walk reads, “Today, my best friend and her family lost their dear father. Dana Walk was shot and killed in the MKE Coors shooting. Join me in raising money for my best friend Melanie and her family. We love you guys, and we will be walking with the Walks through this.”
You can donate money to help Dana Walk’s family here.
People filled the GoFundMe page with tributes to Walk. “Will so miss chatting with Dana. Our family is just heartbroken at the loss of such a sweet man and the grief Dori, Andy, Melanie & Michelle are left with in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy. Walk Family – we are here for you! Wrapping you in prayer and love❤️” read one.
James Reed wrote on Twitter, “I normally don’t grieve online, but after what I witnessed today I just need to vent. I want to say f*ck humans… My wife and I lost an amazing human today. His name was Dana Walk, my father-in-law and was lost via a mass shooting. Humans suck, they truly do…”
He added: “The pain I am witnessing and feeling should never be experienced by anyone. Hold your loved ones tight tonight everyone and always say I love you. You never know what could happen…RIP Dana Walk, we miss you lots.”
Walk was from Delafield. He was married and went to Kettle Moraine High School, according to his Facebook page, which shows a love of ice and other fishing. One photo shows him wearing a Miller shirt while holding two fish.
Wetselaar was from Milwaukee. According to his LinkedIn page, Wetselaar worked as an engine room operator at Miller Coors, a positioned he had held since June 2018.
Before that he was a “nuclear reactor operator” for the U.S. Navy. For that position, he wrote, “In charge of training and operations for Reactor Control Division. Holds a current Secret security clearance. Operates a Nuclear Reactor on board a US Navy Submarine during examinations and equipment testing.”
Previously, he was a site manager for Mid American Building Services for a year. He “managed housekeeping department for Milwaukee County Courthouse,” his LinkedIn page says.
His summary on LinkedIn explains, “Current submarine qualified Leading Petty Officer of a Reactor Control Division on board a US Navy Submarine. I lead the installation and repair of electronics directly related to reactor safety. Operated in the refueling and re-certifying of a submarine to return it to active service. Active trainer for an engineering department on reactor theory and operations. I am ready to bring my extensive training and experience to a new career.”
He had also worked as a manager at a pizza company and as a Health Care Services account manager. He had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in political science and government. He spoke Dutch.
Hudson was from Waukesha. He was honored in the above photo when he hit 10 years of service for the company in 2018. IBEW Local 494 posted the above picture on Facebook at the time and identified Hudson as the man standing fourth from left.
His Facebook page says he worked at MillerCoors, studied at MATC Milwaukee, studied at WCTC Pewaukee, studied at Univesity of Phoenix, and went to Elkhorn Area High. His page mostly contains pictures of the outdoors, such as deer hunting and ice fishing.
A co-worker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Hudson was a “great electrician” who “taught me so much,” was married with children and loved hunting and fishing. He would pay for lunches and dinners for apprentices who made less money, according to the newspaper.
Levshetz was from Mequon, according to police.
Levshetz’s obituary said he “passed away tragically on Feb. 26, 2020 at the age of 61. Beloved husband of Alina Levshetz (nee Goldina). Cherished father of Tanya (Steve) Paler and Becca Levshetz. Proud grandfather of Hannah Paler and Benny Paler. Dear brother of Anna (Moysey) Tsypkin. Further survived by other dear relatives and friends.”
The obit added: “Gene will be remembered as the best husband, dad, and dede. He was a kind, caring, and giving person who always put his family’s needs before his own.”
In lieu of flowers, “memorial contributions to National MS Society, Cong. Shalom or the charity of your choice would be appreciated,” the obituary says. Levshetz’s Facebook page is filled with photos of his family.
Jesus Valle Jr.
Police said Valle was from Milwaukee. According to WTMJ, his brother described him as loving and caring family man. .
Alberto Valle wrote on Facebook, “Yesterday was such a sad day for the city, all I could do was pray for anyone involved. It was heartbreaking to think someone got up for work, but wouldn’t return home to their loved ones bc a senseless, cowardly act. Then finding out one of the victims was a family member completely shook me up. My family has already been through enough gun violence trauma, I can’t even believe this is real again. Please keep my family in your prayers and hold those dearest to you close.”
He chastised the news media and wrote, “Appreciate the chief of police for personally visiting and offering his condolences and whatever info he could. Also thank you to everyone for their kind words and prayers. The family definitely appreciates it. ??”
Hattersley, CEO, Molson Coors Beverage Company, also released this statement: “Earlier today we received news of an active shooter on our Milwaukee Brewery campus. The police have since confirmed the shooter, who was an active brewery employee, is now deceased. There is no longer an active threat and our employees are in the process of being released to go home to their families.”
The statement continued, “Unfortunately, I am devastated to share that we lost five other members of our family in this tragic incident. The police are still working to notify their relatives, so I am unable to provide more information at this time. There are no words to express the deep sadness many of us are feeling right now. The most important thing is that we support and care for each other. 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. Please hold your family members tight tonight and keep the families of our fallen teammates in your thoughts.”