Three Killed, Five Hurt in Mo. Shooting
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ An employee shot and killed three co-workers and wounded five others at a manufacturing plant on the outskirts of the capital, then drove into town and killed himself in a confrontation with police, authorities said.
Two employees of Modine Manufacturing Co. died at the plant after the shooting late Tuesday. A third died later at a hospital, authorities said.
According to Capt. Jim Johnsen, the suspect had clocked in to work Tuesday night and reported to his work station on the assembly line at the center of the plant. Then he pulled out a handgun and began firing.
Two employees close to his station were shot first, Johnsen said. The shooter continued through the plant toward the door, shooting at others as he went, authorities said. In addition to those killed, five people were wounded. Their conditions were not immediately available Wednesday.
Johnsen said a witness called police about 10:20 p.m. with a description of the shooting suspect’s white truck.
A short time later, an officer leaving the police building, about six blocks from the state Capitol, noticed it in an alley and confronted the driver, identified as Jonathon Russell, 25, of Holt’s Summit. The two exchanged gunfire, but authorities said Wednesday that they believe Russell died of a self-inflicted wound.
The body lay under a tarp on the police station lawn early Wednesday no more than 30 feet from the front door. In the police parking lot, yellow tape surrounded the white truck.
Teresa Francisco, who lives across the street from Russell at the Jefferson Regency trailer park in Holt’s Summit, said he seemed friendly enough.
``I didn’t know him that well. They always kept to themselves,″ she said.
Russell had sat calmly at a picnic table drinking a soda and smoking a cigarette before going into work on Tuesday and firing the fatal shots, authorities said.
Authorities believe he was perhaps despondent over the possibility of losing his job. Johnsen said employees work on a merit or demerit system, and Russell may have been approaching demerits that could have caused him to be laid off.
``Apparently these shootings were not at random, but more specific, at these employees,″ Johnsen said.
Police Chief Roger Schroeder said there was no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved in the shootings.
Two of the employees killed were also identified as being from Holt’s Summit, Terry Wilson, 44, and Tim Wilbers, 42. The third victim was identified as Ricky Borts, 29, of California, Mo.
``The loss of any life is terrible,″ said Mick Lucareli, manager of business development and corporate communications for Modine. ``We just want to find out the details as soon as we can.″
Lucareli said Wednesday that operations at the Jefferson City plant had been suspended at least for the rest of the week.
CEO David Rayburn said arrangements were being made to provide access to counseling for those who want it. The plant employs 285 people.
``We are deeply saddened and our grieving the loss of our fellow Modine employees,″ Rayburn said in a statement. ``Modine’s focus at this point is on supporting our employees and their families through this very tragic event.″
Racine, Wis.-based Modine Manufacturing manufactures air and oil filters for a variety of engines.
Cole County Sheriff John Hemeyer said the weapon used in the killings was a 40.-caliber Glock semiautomatic formerly owned by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He said the guns typically are sold first to employees, then to gun dealers on trades, then to the public. Russell bought the weapon from a gun shop, Hemeyer said.
Russell had worked at the plant since January 2001 in the soldering department, Hemeyer said.
About 140 employees were in the plant at the time of the shooting, he said.