UPDATED: 5:44 p.m. ET —
The confirmed gunman in Wednesday’s mass shooting at a brewery in Milwaukee was being remembered by friends and family as anything but the killer that he died as.
Officials on Thursday identified Anthony Ferrill as the shooter who killed five workers at the Molson Coors brewery before turning the gun on himself and dying by suicide. But the 51-year-old longtime employee at the brewery was “a friendly, family man,” according to one local news outlet that interviewed Ferrill’s neighbors.
Elizabeth LaPine, who lives across the street from the home where Ferrill lived, said he would “walk the dog” and “work on his cars.” LaPine said she had “No inkling” that Ferrill was capable of such a tragic act.
Meanwhile, officials also announced the names of Ferrill’s five victims. Not much other information was immediately released about them.
UPDATED: 2:02 p.m. ET —
As new developments are being made in the recent mass shooting at a brewery in Milwaukee on Wednesday, additional details on the shooter, Anthony Ferrill, are being revealed. The 51-year-old worked as an electrician for 20 years, with about 17 of them being for Molson Coors, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A former co-worker, who requested anonymity, according to the report, said Ferrill felt he was being discriminated against because he was Black. The colleague also said that Ferrill had constant verbal disputes with a fellow electrician, who was a victim in the mass shooting. The co-worker claimed that Ferrill would oftentimes watch movies on his phone during the day, which bothered the other electrician. The two men allegedly “accused each other of going into each others’ offices and stealing tools or tampering with computer equipment,” the report says.
According to the colleague, Ferrill began displaying concerning behavior a year ago, saying that he believed his co-workers were coming into his home, “bugging his computer and moving chairs around.”
“I was: ‘Are you serious, Anthony? What?’ We all kind of joked about it, saying we should maybe get him an aluminum hat. Things just started getting weird. But he was dead serious about it,” the co-worker said.
Meanwhile, another colleague, Keith Giese, saw nothing wrong with Ferrill as he had just seen him earlier in the week. “I never had a clue. I talked to him a couple of days ago and he seemed fine to me,” he said. “I had no idea that there was a problem, that somebody could snap like that.”
The possible name of the gunman who killed multiple people and himself during a mass shooting at a brewery in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon was making the rounds on social media and the larger internet overnight. While local authorities had not officially revealed the name of the shooter, the name of Anthony Ferrill was being used across social media and in a few news articles to identify the gunman.
Journalist Matthew Keys cited a “law enforcement source” when he tweeted on Wednesday night that “Anthony Ferrill was a long-time employee of MillerCoors / Molson Coors with over 20 years of work history at the company.”
Ferrill was also identified as a Black man. No information about the victims had been released as of early pre-dawn Thursday.
Reddit, the popular social news aggregation and content website that fosters these types of online conversations, devoted an entire post to “Anthony Ferrill” and provided two photos of “the perpetrator of todays [sic] shooting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
While there was no official indication of the motive behind the shooting, a website called the Hispanic News Network USA Blog reported without any confirmation that “Racist taunting by employees targeting an African-American employee might have led to five employees being fatally shot including the shooter at the Molson Coors Beverage Company formerly known as MillierCoors [sic].”
A Twitter account credited to the name Tony Muhammad tweeted that “Miller Brewing in Milwaukee has a long and present-day history of employment/on the job discrimination against African American males.” A LinkedIn profile for Muhammad identified him as a Milwaukee businessman and resident.
Muhammad also posted from his Facebook account that the gunman “recently filed a civil lawsuit against Miller Coors’s racist work environment. The racist white co-workers had hung a hangman noose on his locker. He was rehired after the lawsuit five years ago. The white racist male harassment continue when he returned to work at Miller Coors.”
New York magazine’s Intelligencer website cited ABC News when it reported that the gunman “was fired earlier in the day on Wednesday, and returned to the campus with a gun.” However, ABC News’ report may have been amended and did not mention the gunman having been terminated before launching his deadly shooting rampage.
The only official information released about the shooter is that he “was an active brewery employee” who a 51-year-old Milwaukee resident, Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said during a press conference on Wednesday.
But other reports across social media went much deeper in uncovering unconfirmed information about Ferrill.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described the shooting on the Molson Coors brewery campus as one of the worst shootings in Wisconsin history. Five people were killed in total with the gunman also dying by suicide.
“Police were called to the complex where beer has been brewed for more than a century at 2:08 p.m,” the Journal Sentinel reported. “Ten minutes later, employees were notified by email that an active shooter was in or near the second-floor stairwell of the sprawling factory’s Building 4.”
That was where officials found the five shooting victims along with the deceased gunman.
If the claims are true, Ferrill would be one of the rare instances of a Black person being behind a mass shooting. The most recent similar instance came when DeWayne Craddock killed at least 12 people in a municipal building in Virginia Beach in June. Like the reports surrounding the Milwaukee shooting, the 40-year-old Craddock was a longtime employee who was reportedly disgruntled after being fired recently.
The reports of the brewery gunman being the victim of workplace racism were unconfirmed. With that said, Milwaukee County in April declared racism a public health crisis in the city that the Brookings Institution in 2018 found to be the most segregated in America.