SOMERS, Wis. - They were some of the first people on scene in the aftermath of The Somers House tavern shooting -- Somers Fire-Rescue -- marking a first for many in the department by responding in bulletproof vests and tactical gear.
There were about 15 total members of Somers Fire-Rescue that arrived on scene, which is a lot considering it’s a department of only about 45. They were able to transport the injured to the hospital in a matter of minutes. In his 26 years with Somers Fire-Rescue, Captain Scott Schoenfeld has often worn a bulletproof vest for training. Sunday’s shooting at The Somers House Tavern was the first time he’s put it on for real.
"We’ve trained with them on," he said. "They are pretty bulking, a little cumbersome. We’ve been on car accidents with more patients than we had at the shootout at Somers House, but it was a very chaotic, crazy scene when we pulled up."
Investigators say 24-year old Rakayo Vinson killed three men at the bar and injured three others. Vinson is being held on a $4 million bond.
"All three patients from on scene, the transport was under 24 minutes, which is really good for a situation like that," said Schoenfeld.
On Tuesday afternoon, crime scene tape around the perimeter of the building finally came down while a memorial for the victims across the street remains.
"We really taxed our resources past the limit," said Chief Carson Wilkinson.
Sunday’s shooting marked one of the most horrific of Chief Carson Wilkinson’s entire career. He’s set to retire this fall.
"We’re going to reinforce our training and responding to this type of emergency," said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson is also asking the growing community for more funding and resources. The department is a mix of full-time, part-time and paid-on-call staff and retention is also an issue. Considering The Somers House is a popular hang-out for nearby Carthage College students. Wilkinson says the outcome could have been much worse.
"We happen to know that the one person we transported has already been released from the hospital," said Wilkinson.