MIDDLETON (WKOW) — Days after the workplace shooting, much of the area surrounding WTS Paradigm is back open. Shoppers can drive past the software company on their way to neighboring Greenway Station, though the parking lot and building remain closed.
As the caution tape begins to come down, those who live and work in the area look to recover. That includes Claire Little.
“We don’t want to keep focusing and we want to move forward,” she said.
Little lives behind Greenway Station. She said she was at work when the shots broke out.
“When I got home, it was all taped off and kind of scary,” she said. “I didn’t realize how close it was.”
Little said that night, she needed to take the long way home. She typically drives past WTS Paradigm on Demming Way. Now that the road is back open, she said it’s a constant reminder of the violence that took place so close to where she lives.
“I can’t imagine the mental toll it takes on friends and family and people who were even close to building,” she said. “I know it has taken a toll on me and I’m just 100 yards away.”
As for those returning to work, Bill Verhagen said it’s a similar feeling.
“It reflects like it was yesterday,” he said.
Verhagen is a supervisor for Midwest Restoration. He said his crew was at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, just a parking lot away from WTS Paradigm on Wednesday morning. Verhagen was at another nearby restoration site, but he said when he heard what had happened, he rushed to the scene.
“They were all scared,” he said. “They didn’t know exactly what was going on. All they knew was there was a shooting literally right next door.”
Verhagen said he was relieved none of his workers were hurt. They spent about three hours on lockdown. Now returning to work and seeing the empty building across the way, Verhagen said it hasn’t been easy.
“You’re seeing the evidence,” he said. “You know, we were that close.”
As he and his crews get back to work, it’s another reminder of the hundreds of employees who aren’t yet able to return.
“My heart goes out to you,” he said. “My sympathies go out to the families of the ones that were injured. I’m just thankful that it wasn’t worse.”