Fired Worker Returns to Restaurant, Killing Two Employees and Injuring Another

04 May, 2021 Liz Carey


Ashwaubenon, WI ( – Authorities said a worker who had been fired from a casino restaurant, returned Saturday night, opened fire and killed two of his former co-workers.

About 50 people were eating at the Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar in Ashwaubenon, Wis., on Saturday night, when 62-year-old Bruce Pofahl walked into the restaurant, located in the Radisson hotel connected to the Oneida Casino. Pofahl went to the waiter station and shot two waiters – Ian Simpson, 32 and Jacob Bartel, 35 – with a 9 mm pistol, Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said at a news conference yesterday. Simpson and Bartel were declared dead at the scene.

After shooting Simpson and Bartel, Pofahl went outside the complex and shot 28-year-old Daniel Mulligan, Delain said. Mulligan was transported to a hospital in critical condition.

Authorities said they shot Pofahl outside of the complex near a parking structure. He was declared dead at the scene as well.

Delain said Pofahl was fired from his job as the restaurant's food and beverage manager earlier this year. Additionally, he was forbidden by the Oneida Nation to step foot on the property

"This is not a random act," Delain said. "We believe it was targeted."

However, police do not yet have a specific motive, he said.

According to the Post-Crescent, Brown County Court Commissioner Phoebe Mix granted a temporary restraining order against Pofahl on March 9 on behalf of one of the restaurant’s employees whom Pofahl once supervised. The employee said Pofahl sent her threatening text messages and emails including pictures of her home and threats against her family.

Court records indicated Pofahl made comments like “time’s up” in the messages, the Post Crescent said. The employee told the court the threatening messages continued even after the employee contacted the police multiple times. Hotel staff were also aware of the situation and shared her concerns, court records indicate.

The court granted a permanent restraining order for the employee on March 23, the Post Crescent said, but the court did not find "clear and convincing evidence that the respondent may use a firearm to cause physical harm to another or to endanger public safety."

Pofahl did not attend the restraining order hearing. He indicated in a letter to court officials that he had high blood pressure and diabetes and was concerned, as a member of vulnerable populations, about exposure to COVID-19.

The Oneida Nation and Radisson Hotel Group Americas offered their thoughts.

"Our heartfelt condolences are extended to all the loved ones of the victims,” the Oneida Nation said in a statement. “We are reaching out to provide all necessary services of counseling for all our employees."

Likewise, Radisson said they would help employees at the property.

"We are working closely with the leadership, operations and security teams at the hotel as well as with members of the Oneida Nation to provide support,” the hotel group said in a statement. “We salute the brave first responders on the scene for their heroic efforts. Our hearts are broken for the families of the victims and this community and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time."

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and his wife, Kathy Evers, released a statement as well.

"Our hearts, thoughts, and support go out to the Oneida Nation, the Ashwaubenon and Green Bay communities, and all those affected by this tragedy," said Evers. "While we are waiting for more information, we hope and pray those who were injured will recover and are grateful for the first responders who quickly responded to the situation."


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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