Wis. workplace shooting suspect had revoked gun permit

The gunman had "contact" with police in South Dakota in 2004 that involved a mental health issue


Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — The suspect in a Wisconsin workplace shooting that wounded four people had his concealed-carry permit revoked and was unable to legally purchase a firearm, police said Friday.

Middleton Police Chief Chuck Foulke said the gunman, 43-year-old Anthony Tong, had no criminal history but did have "contact" with police in South Dakota in 2004 that involved a mental health issue. Foulke didn't give details of the South Dakota incident.

Foulke cautioned against concluding that mental health was an issue in the Wednesday morning shooting at WTS Paradigm. Investigators said Tong opened fire on his co-workers in the company's Middleton headquarters, seriously wounding three people and grazing a fourth before police killed him in a shoot-out.

Four people were shot and wounded during the shooting on Wednesday, according to a city administrator. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
Four people were shot and wounded during the shooting on Wednesday, according to a city administrator. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Foulke said police still don't know what motivated the attack.

"He came to work that day on a normal basis and was working when this happened," Foulke said. "I just don't know. Motive is the huge thing that everybody wants to know."

Foulke said Tong moved from South Dakota to Wisconsin in March 2017, a month before he started his job at WTS Paradigm. The chief said he didn't know how Tong was making a living in South Dakota but assumed he came to Wisconsin for the WTS Paradigm job.

The police chief said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was trying to track down the origin of the 9mm semiautomatic pistol used in the attack but was running into problems with the trace.

"There's something unique about that weapon that they're having trouble finding out where it came from and what hands it passed through," Foulke said.

He declined to elaborate.

Authorities also said Friday that the conditions of the three seriously wounded workers had improved. The woman and two men have been upgraded from serious to fair condition at University Hospital in Madison, according to UW Health.

Police don't know if the victims were targeted or shot at random. Their names haven't been released.

Officers were called to WTS Paradigm in Middleton, a Madison suburb of about 17,440 people, just before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Foulke said officers arrived within 8 minutes of receiving emergency calls and found a man wielding a semiautomatic pistol. Foulke said the man was also carrying extra magazines.

Two Middleton officers and two Dane County sheriff's deputies exchanged gunfire with Tong, killing him. The officers and deputies were not hurt, according to police.

WTS Paradigm makes software for the building products industry. A Wisconsin State Journal profile from 2014 listed company employment at about 145 workers and noted the company was looking to move to a larger location at the time.

Associated Press
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