Bruce K. Pofahl was named as the 62-year-old gunman who opened fire at the Oneida Casino and Radisson Hotel and Conference Center near Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the evening of Saturday, May 1, 2021. Two people were killed, along with the gunman, and a third victim was seriously injured.
The suspect was a former employee who was fired earlier in 2021 and was barred from entering the property, Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said Monday at a press conference. You can see a picture of Pofahl here.
The victims were identified as Ian J. Simpson, 35, Jacob T. Bartel, 32, and Daniel L. Mulligan, 28. Simpson and Bartle were killed and Mulligan is in serious, but stable condition at a Milwaukee hospital. All three victims worked at the casino. A GoFundMe created for Mulligan has raised more than $18,000.
Authorities said it was a “targeted event, not a random shooting. It was targeting a specific victim.” The target wasn’t there, so the gunman decided to shoot the target’s co-workers and friends, police said at a press conference.
The casino is run by the Oneida Nation and is located in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, near Green Bay. Delain said, “Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives in this senseless act of violence. We appreciate everyone’s support and patience as work through this investigation. This incident has impacted the lives of many in our community, including the victims, their families, emergency first responders and their families, witnesses and the staff and patrons of the Radisson.”
Here’s what you need to know about Bruce Pofahl:
1. The Shooting Happened at the Duck Creek Restaurant in the Radisson
Delain said at a press conference on Monday the shooting happened just before 7:30 p.m. in the Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar restaurant located in the Radisson Hotel part of the Oneida Casino complex. He said there are several large banquet halls at the casino complex.
“A person can travel a significant distance and enter several different rooms within the complex with numerous entrance and exit points,” Delain said. “On Saturday, during the time period of this incident, there were several hundred people within the complex area, including Oneida Nation employees, hotel guests, restaurant patrons, individuals using the banquet halls, including a wedding celebration and guests of the casino.”
Delain said 75 law enforcement officers and fire and EMS personnel immediately responded from several local departments and agencies.
“On the night incident, the suspect entered the complex on the south side of the building between the casino and restaurant near the banquet halls. He walked to the Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar and walked directly toward the back of the restaurant toward a waiter’s station,” Delain said. “This waiter’s station is open to the public and not an employee-only restricted area. The suspect fatally shot two employees at close range with a 9mm handgun. This occurred with approximately 50 patrons inside the restaurant.”
Pofahl then left the restaurant and made his way outside “to the north side of the complex,” Delain said. He then shot the third victim, who is also a Duck Creek employee, the sheriff said.
Delain said officers formed teams to enter the building and locate the threat while others began providing first aid to the victims. “A contact team from the Green Bay Police Department was able to engage and neutralize the suspect outside of the complex on the north side of the building near the parking structure. The lone suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Delain said the suspect was shot by police shortly after he shot the third victim. The entire incident occurred over 10 minutes or less, Delain said.
Scanner traffic said the active shooter was reported at the “Oneida Casino Radisson,” possibly at a wedding. The shooting was in the restaurant area or sports bar, according to the dispatch audio. “It’s in the restaurant. Male with hat and glasses,” said an officer.
The Radisson Hotel and Conference Center are connected to the casino.
“Suspect is down,” an officer said in the dispatch audio.
The initial call reported there were “reports of an active shooter.”
Fox6 spoke to a witness, who said, “We all started walking outside slowly, and next thing you know they say this is serious. Next thing we know you see a cop with an AR15. It was nuts.” He said the “next thing you know we hear 40 shots. We were running and ducking in the woods…There were a lot of shots for sure.”
2. The Investigation Into the Shooting Is Ongoing & the Exact Motive Is Not Yet Known
Delain said his office will be investigating the shootings at the casino, while a separate agency, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation will investigate the officer-involved shooting of the suspect. It is procedure in Wisconson for the state agency to investigate officer-involved shootings and Delain said he could not provide any information on that part of the incident. The FBI is also assisting in both investigations, according to Delain.
Delain said about Pofahl, “We know he is a former employee there,” and “was familiar with at least some of the employees” at the restaurant, but they are still trying to figure out the suspect’s motive. He said the Oneida Nation had advised Pofahl “that he was forbidden from being on the property,” after he was terminated earlier in 2021.
“We know this was not a random act or anything like that,” Delain said. “We believe it was targeted.” Delain said there was nothing that occurred Saturday night at the casino that led directly to the shooting.
Delain said, “At this time, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the double homicide and attempted homicide investigation. Anyone who has direct information or eyewitness observation or cell phone footage of the shooting who has not yet been interviewed by law enforcement, they are asked to contact Lieutenant Brian Slinger at 920-448-4229. The Wisconson Department of Justice DCI is continuing to investigate the officer-involved shooting and will be providing their own press release of information as it becomes available.”
Delain said there is body camera footage of parts of the incident. “We are extremely proud of our law enforcement officers in our community,” Delain said. “Running into this dangerous situation in the midst of chaos. These are difficult times in law enforcement, our actions are often critiqued and second-guessed by those who could not do our jobs. The officers in our community did not hesitate to respond in the time of need. They should be commended for their bravery in handling this tragic situation.”
3. Pofahl Was the Target of a Restraining Order by a Female Employee of the Restaurant
Delain confirmed at the press conference that the suspect was the target of a restraining order taken out against him by someone who worked at the casino. Delain said he could not go into details of who the suspect was targeting
The female co-worker alleged that Pofahl “sent her threatening text messages and emails over the course of a few weeks that included pictures of her home and threats against her family,” the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported. “Time’s up,” said one.
According to Brown County court records, a 28-year-old woman filed for a restraining order against Pofahl on March 9, 2021. Judicial Court Commissioner Phoebe Mix granted a temporary restraining order that same day. The restraining order was filed as being for domestic abuse/harassment. Pofahl was served with the restraining order on March 17.
On March 23, the restraining order was granted after a hearing. The court records show, “injunction w/out firearm restriction for Pofahl, Bruce,” was issued by Judicial Court Commissioner Paul Burke. Court records obtained by the Press-Gazette show that Burke did not find “clear and convincing evidence that the respondent may use a firearm to cause physical harm to another or to endanger public safety.”
Delain did not disclose why the suspect was fired by the casino and hotel restaurant. He did not say how long the suspect worked at the restaurant. Delain said firearms are not allowed the casino, hotel and restaurant.
When asked by a reporter about why the restraining order did not include a firearm restriction, Delain said, “I don’t get into guessing whether or not, without all the facts, whether or not he should have a firearm. That is something that would be evaluated in the courts and a determination made. That’s not something I’m even going to comment on.”
4. Pofahl Was a Brown County Resident & Worked as a Food & Beverage Manager at the. Restaurant
Pofahl worked as the restaurant’s food and beverage manager, an Oneida Nation spokesperson said at the press conference. Delain said Pofahl was a Brown County resident and had limited prior interaction with police. Court records show he lived in an apartment in Hobart, Wisconsin, at the time the restraining order was filed against him.
There are no records of arrests or criminal cases involving Pofahl available in the online Wisconsin public court records database. Pofahl has speeding tickets in Virginia and Minnesota on his record, according to public records search conducted by Heavy, but no other known run-ins with police.
According to Delain, the gunman was armed with a 9mm handgun. He said they are investigating whether he legally owned the gun.
5. Pofahl Had Also Lived Around the Country, Including Recently in Florida, & Had Worked in the Restaurant Industry for Several Years
Public records show that Bruce Kimbel Pofahl has lived all over the United States. Along with a Green Bay address, Pofahl has also recently lived in Apopka, Florida, public records seen by Heavy show. Pofahl has also lived in Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and North Carolina, according to public records.
Pofahl appears to have worked in the hotel and restaurant industry for several years. A 1995 article in the Detroit Jewish News about the restaurant at the Radisson Plaza Hotel there describes Pofahl as the food and beverage manager and executive assistant manager at that time. The article says Pofahl had worked there for two and a half years.
According to a 1989 article in The Manitou Messenger, Pofahl and a friend opened a restaurant together in Northfield, Minnesota, that year. The article describes Pofahl as a graduate of Carleton College, which is located in Northfield.
A 2005 article in the Fort Myers News-Press shows Pofahl was the director of food and beverage at the Noble House Hotels & Restaurant, located at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples.