Firefighter Kills Three, Wounds Three, Is Shot by Police
Apr. 24, 1996
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ A firefighter with a semi-automatic weapon attacked his supervisors at the city's Central Fire Station Wednesday and then shot it out with police, killing two firefighters and wounding three other people.
The gunman also killed his wife earlier Wednesday before going to the station, said police, who recovered her body at their home in Jackson.
Police chased him to the parking lot of a busy suburban shopping center, where he wounded one officer before he was critically injured by a bullet in his left eye, authorities said.
Police Chief Robert Johnson said the firefighter was a nine-year veteran. Police did not immediately identify the victims.
Fire Department Investigator Norman Presson said the gunman was Kenneth Tornes, and said he believed all the wounded or dead firefighters were senior officers, captains or above.
The gunman began shooting on the second floor of the downtown fire station and then moved to different officers, firing as he went, Johnson said.
An unidentified woman who witnessed the incident said she was in a hallway when Tornes said, ``Lady get back, I am going to blow the place up.''
The shots could be heard over the fire department's radio, said Presson, who was in his vehicle and talking to a dispatcher at the time.
``Apparently, whoever was on duty keyed up the mike when the gunman came in,'' Presson said, adding that he heard someone pleading with the assailant not to open fire. ``Then I heard shots fired over the radio.''
Tornes fled the station and ``a chase ensued,'' causing several wrecks, including one involving an ambulance. Tornes and police ended up in the parking lot of the busy North Park Mall in Ridgeland, a suburban community that borders Jackson.
The gunman was killed in a shootout, and one of the officers was wounded, Johnson said.
Investigators aren't sure what motivated the gunman to attack
A spokeswoman for University Medical Center said firefighters Ken Lewis and Merideth Moree were being treated for gunshot wounds to the chest, and that Tornes was in critical condition.
The spokeswoman, Barbara Austin, said Ridgeland police officer Elmo Gabbert was in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the hip.
It was the second multiple shooting in Mississippi's capital city this month.
On March 12, white supremacist Larry Shoemake sprayed a busy shopping center with random gunfire, killing one person and wounding 10 others. He set fire to the abandoned restaurant where he was holed up and perished in the flames.