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People pack the Milwaukee Brat House to remember bartender killed in Christmas Eve hit-and-run

James Hanson pic
Posted at 10:34 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 23:36:16-05

MILWAUKEE — People pack the Brat House in downtown Milwaukee to remember a beloved bartender, killed by a hit-and-run driver on Christmas Eve. James Hanson, 36, was struck while out walking her dogs.

The Brat House transformed into place to remember Hanson. They even covered the last letters of the light up Jameson sign to read James.

"It's an incredible turnout," said Tim Casey, friend and coworker. "The restaurant industry is very tight-knit. We're very close. We all know each other especially James because she had been working downtown for 15 years."

Friends said Hanson had a reputation for giving back.

James Hanson pic
James Hanson

"She had a huge heart. Loved to support local charities. Always the one that you could walk into the bar or walk into her home with a bad attitude and leave laughing," said Mo Crosby, friend and coworker.

Casey worked with Hanson Christmas Eve right before she died.

"She was in a great mood. We got done with our shift. We hung out, had a beer with one of our close friends at the bar," said Casey.

Hanson went home to bay view and took her two dogs for a walk. Milwaukee Police said a suspect hit Hanson while she was on the sidewalk, killing her and one of her dogs. The driver took off. Milwaukee Police have found the car, but are still looking for a suspect.

"She was a warm-hearted person. And didn't deserve this. I can only hope that the person finds the decency to turn themselves in," said Casey.

Gingerz, a Bay View sports bar and grill, is pledging $10,000 for whoever turns in the person responsible. The Brat House said they are also raising a reward. Police say if you have information you can make an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS (8477).