MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A man who shot and killed two people and wounded a third at a northeastern Wisconsin tribal casino restaurant before police killed him had been fired from the eatery and banned from the property, authorities said Monday.
Bruce Pofahl, 62, walked into the Duck Creek Kitchen and Bar in Green Bay on Saturday and shot Ian Simpson, 32, and Jacob Bartel, 35, at a waiter station at close range with a 9 mm handgun as dozens of patrons looked on, Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said during a news conference in Green Bay.
Pofahl then went outside and shot another restaurant employee, 28-year-old Daniel Mulligan, the sheriff said. A team of Green Bay police officers opened fire on Pofahl, killing him.
Mulligan was in serious but stable condition at a Milwaukee hospital on Monday, Delain said.
The sheriff defended the officers’ decision to fire on Pofahl, saying “certainly this individual was a threat.”
The restaurant is part of a hotel and conference center that includes the Oneida Casino. Delain said Pofahl was fired from the restaurant earlier this year. He didn’t say why Pofahl was fired, but he said the attack was “targeted” and investigators were still piecing together Pofahl’s relationships with his co-workers.
Online court records show that a woman took out a restraining order against Pofahl in March, but the order didn’t include any firearms restrictions. The records didn’t list any other cases or charges involving Pofahl.
Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill told WLUK-TV on Sunday that he was in “disbelief” and called the shooting “scary.” He said the tribe prohibits firearms on its properties but that “(mass shootings are) kind of a regular thing in this country.”
The attack happened around 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the restaurant at the casino complex operated by the Oneida Nation, whose reservation is located on the western side of Green Bay about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. The complex includes a casino, conference center, hotel and restaurant. Between 150 and 200 people work there, tribal leaders said.
Hill said he feels security is tight at the casino, but that the tribe may have to consider tougher protocols for the complex depending on investigators’ findings.
The Oneida is one of 11 tribes that operate casinos in Wisconsin under agreements with the state called compacts. Essentially, the tribes pledge a percentage of their gaming revenue to the state in exchange for the exclusive right to offer casino gambling.
Tribal gaming in Wisconsin generated nearly $1.3 billion in gross revenue in the 2018-2019 fiscal year but suffered deep losses in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.