MIDDLETON, Wis. (AP) — Police are responding to a report of an active shooter at a commercial building in a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin.
The Dane County dispatch center said shots were fired Wednesday morning at a building that houses Esker Software and WTS Paradigm in Middleton. Police and multiple ambulances have responded.
Dane County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Elise Schaffer confirmed there was an “active shooter situation” and said her office is assisting Middleton police. She provided no additional information.
Judy Lahmers, a business analyst at WTS Paradigm, said she was working at her desk when she heard shots at about 10 a.m. She said it sounded “like somebody was dropping boards on the ground, really loud.”
Lahmers said she ran out of the building and hid behind a car. She said the building’s glass entrance door shattered.
“I’m not looking back, I’m running as fast as I can. You just wonder, ‘Do you hide or do you run?’” she said.
She said she knew that one co-worker had been grazed by a shot but was OK. She didn’t have any other information. She said the shooting was “totally unexpected. We’re all software people. We have a good group.”
The State Journal newspaper reports that one woman was taken out of the building screaming, saying it was “a devastating loss” and being held up by another person.
Gabe Geib, a customer advocate at Esker Software, said he was working at his desk when he heard a couple of shots coming from next door which “sounded like claps.” He said he then saw people running “full sprint” away from the building.
“We knew at that point that something was going down. A ton of people were running across the street right in front of us,” he said. More than an hour after the shooting, he and his colleagues were huddled in place in their cafeteria, away from windows.
Jeff Greene, who also works at Esker, said police told those gathered in the cafeteria to go a nearby hotel to make a statement about what they saw.
At least 40 people were gathered in the hotel’s parking lot, waiting to be interviewed by police.
WTS Paradigm makes software for the building products industry. A Wisconsin State Journal profile from 2014 listed company employment at about 145 employees, and noted the company was looking to move to a larger location at the time. The company’s website was down Wednesday.
The shopping center next to the building, Greenway Station, was locked down at the direction of police, according to the center’s general manager Corey Kautzky. There are 34 stores and restaurants in the center that were temporarily closed, Kautzky said.
Middleton is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Milwaukee.