GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A former employee of a company that provides food services to Lambeau Field rammed his car into other vehicles in the parking lot, chased a former coworker, and drove into a storage area inside the stadium, causing police and emergency crews to descend on the home of the Green Bay Packers Friday afternoon.
The suspect's car in the Dec. 22, 2017, incident is towed from Lambeau Field, followed by a police car (WBAY photo)
Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith say the suspect, a 40-year-old Green Bay man, is in custody. (Police corrected their earlier reports that he is 20.) He's being held in the Brown County Jail on a probation hold and is not formally charged with Friday's incident, so Action 2 News is not naming the suspect until police publicly release that information.
The report initially came in as an active shooter at Lambeau Field. Police say there were no shots fired and no weapon was located.
Five vehicles were damaged during the incident, but no people were hurt.
Smith says it started as a dispute between the suspect and another employee of the food services contractor. The suspect did not work for the Packers. The man had been fired from the company earlier this month after a fight with the other employee.
The man showed up at the Green Bay Police Department Friday to make a complaint for wrongful termination. About 20 minutes later, he drove to Lambeau Field.
Smith says the suspect located the employee with whom he had the dispute in the southeast corner of Lambeau Field.
"That employee was seated in his vehicle. The suspect used his own vehicle to ram the victim's vehicle, driving that vehicle into another van that was parked in front of him," Smith says.
The victim got out of his car. The suspect chased him through the parking lot, then down a ramp in the loading dock area.
"At some point, the suspect drove his vehicle down the ramp -- up a ramp that leads into Lambeau Field, not onto the playing field, but in the storage rooms nearby -- and crashed his vehicle into a storage room," Smith said.
The victim was not hurt. Police are interviewing him regarding the initial dispute that seemed to spark Friday's events.
Bomb squad technicians and Hazmat teams were called to search the suspect's car while it was still inside the building. The car was removed on the back of a flatbed truck a few hours later.
The area will remain closed off until the investigation is complete. Chief Smith calls it a "very large crime scene."
The police chief says five cars were damaged in the parking lot. Crime scene investigators used a fire department's ladder truck to photograph the damage from above.
Police expect their suspect will face a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and probably other charges. "Certainly a very dangerous thing to do, and you can argue that this guy was trying to kill this former coworker," Chief Smith said.
Smith says the incident will not impact Saturday's Packers-Vikings game.
"There's absolutely nothing with tomorrow's game that's going to be affected at all. Obviously, whenever we have an incident like this, and before every game, we review all our procedures, we meet with all the involved agencies to talk about anything that's changed. Obviously, this is going to be a topic of discussion for us tomorrow," Smith says. "But nothing's going to happen and I can assure you that tomorrow's going to be as safe as any other game at Lambeau."
At no time was Lambeau Field locked down during the incident.
"The Atrium was still open, the food service areas were still open, the Packers Pro Shop was still open, we didn't shut that down and we really didn't see a need to shut that down," Smith says. "And we really didn't see a need to evacuate out of the rest of the stadium as well."
Witnesses told Action 2 News they saw someone driving erratically in the parking lot. Photos from the scene shows a van on top of cars.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.
Green Bay Police first received calls reporting an active shooter at 1:06 p.m. They arrived at the stadium at 1:11 p.m. The suspect was in custody by 1:12 p.m.
The Packers play the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb tweeted, "Please be safe if you are around Lambeau today."