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Man Kills James River Corp. Vice President, Then Self

October 8, 1994

UPPER SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. (AP) _ A man fired from his job eight years ago faked a family emergency to get inside the company’s corporate offices, then shot an executive to death and killed himself.

Robert Begley, 54, had a history of threatening workers at the Richmond, Va.,-based James River Corp., which makes Dixie cups and Foodwrap. Several years ago, he spent 30 days in a Richmond jail for threatening company executives, police said.

On Friday afternoon, Begley walked in the company’s suburban Philadelphia offices and told a receptionist he had to report a family emergency to one of the executives.

Once he reached the second floor, he opened fire on Brenton F. Halsey Jr., 39, a vice president and son of one of the company’s founders.

Begley shot Halsey eight times with 9 mm pistol, then shot himself in the head, police said.

More than 100 employees fled the building and a nearby paper distribution center. A police tactical team found the bodies.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Begley, of Glen Allen, Va., knew Halsey.

The company said Begley was fired from the company’s accounting office in Virginia for poor work. Police said he had problems finding a job since then.

″This person had a history of mental instability,″ James River spokesman John Burke said. ″We had alerted the Richmond police. It was our belief that he was indeed a danger.″

Halsey’s father, Brenton S. Halsey, helped found the paper corporation 25 years ago. The company, which reported sales of $6 billion in 1990, has plants all over the country and in Europe.

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