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‘My co-workers were slaughtered:’ At vigil, brewery employee reflected on shooting that killed 5

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MILWAUKEE -- A vigil was held Monday, March 2 at Church of the Gesu on Marquette University's campus in honor of Dale Hudson, Gene Levshetz, Jesus Valle, Jr., Dana Walk, and Trevor Wetselaar, killed Wednesday, Feb. 26 when a co-worker opened fire at Miller Brewery. Some of the most poignant words came from a Molson Coors' employee who was at work when the shooting happened. He said he's blessed to be alive, and wanted to share his story to inspire the community to come together.

"We are here to grieve the loss of husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends, co-workers, and neighbors," said Christy Garcia Thomas with Advocate Aurora Health.

Many in the pews Monday evening didn't know the victims but wanted to show support for their families.

Captain Jeffrey Norman

Captain Jeffrey Norman

"I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the victims' families," said Captain Jeffrey Norman, Milwaukee Police Department. "Please remember, being Milwaukee Strong is a collaborative effort."

With offices reopening Monday at Miller Brewery for employees ready to return, Byron Johnson, who was at work at the time of the shooting, said the tragic events were still very raw.

"I will tread back through the very path where several of my co-workers were slaughtered last Wednesday," said Johnson.

Johnson said he tried staying calm until police arrived.

Byron Johnson

Byron Johnson

"We just locked ourselves in the nearest place where we knew to lock ourselves in, and we stayed there until tactical police got us out," said Johnson.

Johnson said events like Monday's vigil were helping him heal.

"Life is a vapor, as the Bible says, but when you're able to depend on others, it makes sharing that burden easier when you're caring about other people," said Johnson. "We remember the families of those fallen in our prayers."

About the victims

Dale Hudson left behind a wife. He was a 2001 graduate of MATC -- and a long-time member of IBEW 494.

Gene Levshetz was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. According to his obituary, Levshetz was a kind, caring, and giving person who always put his family's needs before his own. The Levshetz family issued the following statement:

"The Levshetz family is devastated by the loss of their deeply loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle.  We appreciate the outpouring of support from friends and family and respectfully ask for privacy as we try to come to terms with this unimaginable loss."

Jesus Valle leaves behind a wife, two young children, and many family members. FOX6 News spoke with Valle's cousin who shared some of his favorite memories -- and a message to the community.

Dana Walk was also a loving husband and father of three. His union described Walk as an avid fisherman and a devout journeyman.

Trevor Wetselaar was a loving husband, decorated Navy veteran, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Help for the victims' families

Molson Coors established a GoFundMe Friday dedicated to the family members of those lost in Wednesday's tragedy, donating $500,000 to victims' families. That puts the Miller Valley Survivors Fund halfway to its goal of $1,000,000.

If you are interested in donating to the Miller Valley Survivors Fund, CLICK HERE.

Resources and support

  • Milwaukee County 24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Line: 414-257-7222
  • Milwaukee Child Mobile Crisis and Trauma Response Team: 414-257-7621
  • National Crisis Text Line: text HOPELINE to 741741 to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255.
  • City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention: www.milwaukee.gov/staysafe
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