Moving Forward: One year after workplace shooting in Middleton

Published: Sep. 18, 2019 at 11:36 PM CDT
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It started as a normal day,on Sept. 19, 2018, and it changed in a quick instant that morning at Paradigm in Middleton.

Employees are still recovering from the traumatic moments one of their co-workers opened fire, and injured four people. The gunman was stopped by law enforcement within minutes.

On Wednesday, Paradigm’s CEO Nate Herbst posted on his

that what happened one year ago does not define them and how his employees live their lives.

“We are eternally grateful for the heroism of first responders, the compassion of doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals, and for the support of our customers and community,” said Herbst. “In the year since the incident took place, Paradigm has worked hard to recover in a positive and meaningful way.”

In November, the company changed names, from WTS Paradigm to Paradigm. Then six months after the shooting, employees returned to their offices on Deming Way. The company also hired nearly 120 new employees.

They had a fresh start in a newly remodeled space. The final touches of the remodel were revealed on the company’s blog in June. It included adding a 15-foot LCD screen in the common space, new furniture, a pool table, and a giant breakfast bar.

Of course, there’s a ping-pong and pool table, foosball, tropical fish, a giant coffee bar, and an entertainment bar --...

Posted by Paradigm on Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Heroic actions

More than 350 first responders raced to help Paradigm employees after the first shots were reported inside the building. Four of the officers risked their lives, and encountered the gunman. They were engaged in a shootout and he was killed.

Middleton Police officers Tyler Loether and Richard O’Connor, and Dane County Sheriff’s deputies Matthew Earll and David Lambrecht returned to work in January after the Dane County District Attorney ruled the shooter’s death was legally justified and no criminal charges would be filed.

The four officers were honored in February at the Capitol Building. They received “Hometown Hero” awards from the State Assembly.

Thank you Wisconsin State Representative Dianne Hesselbein for nominating two of our officers, Richard O'Connor & Tyler...

Posted by Middleton Police Department on Friday, February 8, 2019

In May, they were honored by the National Association of Police Organizations in Washington, D.C. and received “Top Cop” honorable mentions.

We are honored to introduce you to two of the nation's newest #TopCops; our very own Officer Rich O'Connor & Sergeant...

Posted by Middleton Police Department on Monday, May 13, 2019

In June, 99 people were honored for their service to their communities by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. One of the awards went to Marcus Geishert. According to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, his actions on Sept. 19, 2019, provided crucial help to first responders and his injured coworkers. Mahoney said Geishert carried one of the four shooting victims to a nearby hotel. He also called nearby businesses to warn them what was happening at his workplace.

Foundation created to give back to the community

Paradigm announced its foundation was forming in May. Herbst said the Paradigm Foundation was inspired by acts of heroism last year, and helps bring positive change to the community. Its first initiatives went towards supporting first responders. It has donated more than 200 thousand dollars to several agencies, including a donation to the Middleton Police Department to help purchase a K9. It also helped purchase protective gear and trauma kits for other agencies.

Coping with traumatic events

Anniversary dates of traumatic events can reactive thoughts and emotions from the event.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) , reliving the sadness is a natural part of the healing process and there is no right way to heal. They suggest people to not compare their reactions to others.

The APA suggests several coping strategies to help people through traumatic anniversaries.

  • Recognize and acknowledge feelings you may experience. Understand that your feelings are part of the recovery process.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with your distress. Share memories and feelings with someone you trust or just spend time with friends and family. Activities that allow your mind to focus on something other than these memories are a good coping strategy for some people.
  • Avoid reactions that become part of the problem such as drinking or using drugs.
  • Use your support system. Reach out to friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself.

If you feel you may need more support through anniversary event, United Way Dane County has a helpline that is always available. You can call or text 2-1-1 from your phone,