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4 Killed In Car Wash Robbery

March 21, 2000

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Four people were shot to death and two others critically wounded early Monday in an apparent robbery at a car wash.

The victims were discovered by an employee arriving for work at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash, police spokesman David Tull said.

``We haven’t seen anything this gruesome, this vicious in quite some time,″ Tull said.

Police said they were looking for a suspect in the slayings _ an ex-employee named Robert Wayne Harris, 28. Television reports said Harris was fired Friday after police arrested him for exposing himself to two women at the business.

Investigators said they were looking into whether Harris may have returned seeking revenge for his termination.

Police identified three of the dead as car wash employees Dennis Lee, 48; Rhoda Wheeler, 45; and Augustine Villasenor, 36.

Police declined to say if the other victims were employees of the full-service car wash.

There was no immediate indication when the shootings happened, but a former employee said workers generally arrive about 7 a.m. The business closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays.

``They’re my friends,″ said Lance Turner, a former employee. ``I worked side by side with them. When hardworking people get hurt like that, it’s a sad deal.″

The owner of a jewelry store nearby, Pete Reyes, said he complained to police two weeks ago because people he believed were car wash employees were there after hours and threw a beer bottle at him.

Three of the victims were dead at the scene. One man died later at the hospital.

The car wash is along a busy thoroughfare in a residential section of Irving, seven miles northwest of Dallas.

``There is no factual, rational, or logical explanation for this act of criminal lunacy,″ said Mi-T-Fine owner Luke Ramsey in a brief statement released Monday.

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