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Fired employee shot three at Oneida restaurant, killing two

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:09 AM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A former employee of a restaurant at a hotel connected to Oneida Casino opened fire on three people Saturday, killing two restaurant workers and injuring a third.

Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain identified the shooter as Bruce K. Pofahl, 62. Pofahl, a former food and beverage director at the restaurant, was shot and killed by police. He had been fired earlier this year from Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar. Delain says Oneida Nation told Pofahl he could not come back to the casino and hotel property.

RELATED: Court records show Oneida Casino restaurant shooter had history of harassment

The sheriff says 32-year-old Ian J. Simpson and 35-year-old Jacob T. Bartel were shot and killed at the restaurant.

A third employee, Dan Mulligan, is being treated at a hospital in Milwaukee. Delain says Mulligan, 28, is in serious but stable condition.

Investigators from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation are assisting Oneida Police and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. DCI is handling the officer involved shooting investigation. The Wisconsin Crime Lab helped process the crime scene.

On Saturday, May 1, at about 7:27 p.m., dispatchers received a report of shots fired at the Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar inside the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. Delain says there were 50 customers in the restaurant at the time. There were several hundred people at the Oneida Casino complex. Delain described it as “an extremely large complex.”

Authorities say the gunman was targeting a specific victim who wasn’t there. Instead, he shot some of the person’s friends and coworkers.

Online court records show a harassment restraining order was filed against Pofahl in March. Action 2 News is going through documents and will update this story as we learn more.

“We know that he was a former employee there. We know that he was familiar with at least some of the employees there. So that is part of what we’re doing now, is to try to determine that motive, to determine why he would do this. We know that this is not a random act or anything like that. We believe it was targeted, at least to some of those individuals,” said Delain.

Delain said Pofahl entered from the south side of the building near a banquet hall, walked to Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar and approached the waiter station. He fatally shot Simpson and Bartel at close range with a 9mm handgun.

Pofahl left the restaurant, made his way outside and shot Mulligan.

Delain says Green Bay Police officers shot and killed Pofahl. DCI says three Green Bay police officers fired weapons and struck Pofahl.

“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,” said Delain.

The officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in police shooting investigations.

The sheriff said investigators were still looking into whether Pofahl was in legal possession of the handgun.

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“The whole incident transpired in about 10 minutes or less,” Delain said.

About 75 law enforcement and emergency officers responded to the shooting. They employed training they learned in tactical response active shooter situation drills.

“Responding officers formed contact teams to enter the complex and respond to the active threat. Additional teams entered with fire and EMS to render first aid to victims,” Delain said.

Delain praised the officers and emergency crews who entered the building during the “chaotic situation.”

“The officers in our community did not hesitate to respond in the time of need. They should be commended in their bravery in handling this tragic situation,” said Delain.

Police have not yet been able to speak to Mulligan, who continues to recover from the shooting. They hope he will be able to provide them information.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Mulligan’s recovery. CLICK HERE to donate.

Due to the large number of people in the vicinity of the shooting Saturday night, authorities are still working to obtain eyewitness statements, and also process evidence.

“Anytime we can get video, evidence, the documents what happens, each little piece of that provides another perspective to get a full and complete understanding of what occurred,” said Sheriff Delain. “It’s chaotic, and you have people running and people crying and people screaming, and maybe people pointing, for whatever reason, because they’re trying to get attention to somebody else that might not be related.”

Authorities say more than 30 witnesses were identified and interviewed at the scene and more than 200 people evacuated from the complex, which remains closed until further notice.

Anyone who had direct eyewitness observations of the homicides and hasn’t been interviewed by a law enforcement agent is asked to call Lt. Brian Slinger. Lt. Slinger can be reached at 920-448-4229. When calling, leave your name and phone number, and he will then get in touch with you to schedule an interview.

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On Sunday, members of the Oneida Nation held a news conference to discuss the impact of the shooting.

“All of us at Oneida Casino are heartbroken for the families and friends of those affected by this horrific event,” said Louise Cornelius, Gaming General Manager.

A Tobacco Burning Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. on the east side of the parking ramp by the Main Casino. The building will also be smudged. The event is open to all Oneida Nation and Gaming employees.

A community healing ceremony is being planed for Saturday, May 8.

Oneida Nation is urging people impacted by the shooting who need to speak with a counselor to call one of these numbers:

  • ERC: 1-800-222-8590
  • Brown County Crisis Management - 920-436-8888
  • Outagamie County Crisis Management - 920-832-4646
  • Suicide Prevention - 1-800-273-8255

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