‘We As A Community Will Move Forward,’ Sheriff Says Following Shooting

Chief: Why Anthony Tong Opened Fire At His Company Is Still Unknown

Emergency personnel arrive at the scene of a shooting in Middleton
Emergency personnel arrive at the scene where a shooting was reported at a software company in Middleton, Wis., a suburb of Madison, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Multiple people were reported to have been shot. Todd Richmond/AP Photo

We will move forward.

That was the message law enforcement officials shared Friday, two days after a man entered a Middleton software company and wounded four people.

“There is a lot of healing. Unfortunately earlier this week, Middleton joined the cities, communities across the world whose lives changed because of an active shooter incident. But we’re a vibrant community. We’re a healing community,” said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

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“Our message is that we as a community will move forward successfully. That’s what we’ve done in the past, and that’s what we will do in the future,” Mahoney continued.

Middleton Police Chief Charles Foulke said the employees a WTS Paradigm, where the shooting happened Wednesday morning, are heroes.

“The people who survived this incident … they are our heroes,” Foulke said. “They did what it took to survive and everyone survived. We are just very proud of the actions they took and the steps they took. But now it’s the hard part, it’s the long return to normalcy.”

The motive behind why 43-year-old Anthony Y. Tong opened fire at WTS Paradigm where he worked is still unknown.

Foulke said he hopes interviews with family that live out-of-state, co-workers and acquaintances could lead investigators to an answer.

Foulke did share at a press conference Friday morning that Tong had a “mental health incident” in 2004 in South Dakota. The incident led law enforcement in Sioux Falls, where Tong lived at the time, to seize weapons and ammunition from Tong’s home. Tong’s concealed-carry license was revoked after the incident, making it illegal for him to purchase any weapons.

The police chief said Friday morning that he did not know if the 2004 incident happened at Tong’s home or work, or if it involved weapons.

Later Friday, The Associated Press reported Tong’s concealed-carry permit was revoked by a South Dakota judge after police said he was acting delusional and paranoid.

Court records show officers were called in August 2004 to Tong’s apartment to investigate a disabled fire alarm. Tong admitted he disabled it.

Officers handcuffed Tong and confiscated a handgun and an AR-15 assault rifle and ammunition.

The affidavit says Tong told police the weapons were for protection. The affidavit also says Tong told police that people at work were “talking bad about him,” but refused to explain.

Tong was transported to a hospital’s mental health unit on a 24-hour mental hold. Later that year, a state judge revoked his concealed-carry permit.

Foulke said Friday morning he was hesitant to release information about the 2004 incident because he was afraid it would lead people to jump to the wrong conclusions.

“I really want to point out though that mental health incident that occurred in South Dakota was (14) years ago,” Foulke said. “We must use caution in trying to jump to conclusions that this is a mental health shooting related incident. And also we need to be cautious that we don’t paint everyone with a broad brush of everyone with a mental health issue is going to become an active shooter, because as we know, that is not the case and that is not at all what we are trying to push out today.”

Foulke said when, where and how Tong came to possess the 9mm semi-automatic pistol used Wednesday is being investigated. He said there is “something unique” about the weapon that is making it difficult for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace its origins and determine how Tong came to possess it.

Tong moved to Madison in March 2017 and began working at WTS Paradigm in April 2017. Police say the suspect had no criminal history or prior contact with area law enforcement.

WTS Paradigm issued a statement Friday saying Tong was in good standing with the company and was facing no disciplinary action.

Officers searched the man’s home on the Verona-Madison border late Wednesday and found “significant evidence” related to the case that was seized, the police chief said early Friday.

A search warrant made public Friday afternoon says authorities seized guns and ammunition from the home.

The search warrant says authorities searching Tong’s home took guns, muzzleloaders, scopes, a silencer, dozens of boxes of ammunition, ballistic vests and a helmet, among other things.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday Tong died from gunshot wounds.

Four officers — two from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and two from the Middleton Police Department — shot Tong after he opened fire on colleagues.

Late Friday evening those officers were identified as Middleton Police officers Richard O’Connor and Tyler Loether, and Dane County deputies David Lambrecht and Matthew Earll.

According to the Middleton Police Department, O’Connor has been with the department since 1998 and is a state-certified firearms instructor and an active shooter response trainer. Loether has been with the department since 2012.

Lambrecht has been with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office for 21 years, and Earll for 11 years, according to a news release.

The officers and deputies are on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete, and the district attorney makes a ruling.

The three people — two men and one women — most seriously injured were shot multiple times and remain hospitalized, Foulke said Friday. All are expected to survive, Foulke said, and the identities will not be released because they’ve requested privacy. The search warrant shows one of the victims was shot 10 times

As of Friday at noon, Toni Morrissey, senior media specialist at UW Health, told WPR that all three are in “fair conditions.” A fourth person was grazed by a bullet when the employee opened fire inside the company’s office.

Whether certain WTS employees were targeted or if Tong fired indiscriminately at anyone in the office is still being investigated, Foulke said.

WTS Paradigm has around 140 employees, and around 100 were in the building at the time of the shooting, the chief said. The software company, 1850 Deming Way, is in a small business park. WTS Paradigm, Esker Software and IMEG, an engineering consultant firm, are located in the park and all connected. About 500 people were in the building at the time of the shooting Wednesday morning.

Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 6:09 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, to identify the names of the officers involved.