Sausage Factory Victims Sought Help
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) _ Three government health inspectors who were gunned down, allegedly by a sausage factory owner, apparently called for police support just minutes before they were killed.
Stuart Alexander, 39, was charged Friday with the murders of two federal inspectors. Under federal law, he could face the death penalty if convicted.
He also was scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon on state charges. One of the dead and the lone survivor of the attack were state meat inspectors.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that slain federal worker Tom Quadros, 52, called police from a cell phone Wednesday just 18 minutes before Alexander allegedly started firing at the Santos Linguisa factory.
By 3:37 p.m., at least 17 shots had rung out and Quadros, federal inspector Jeannie Hillery, 56, and state inspector Bill Shaline, 57, were dead.
Quadros had asked police for a ``civil standby,″ in case they ran into trouble at the plant, San Leandro police Lt. Marc DeCouloude told the Chronicle.
``Mr. Quadros called in and requested an officer to come stand by because he thought there might be a potential problem,″ DeCouloude said. ``It was a priority four call, as there was no violence at the time.″
Police had provided similar backup on a March 9 visit.
The status of the police unit assigned to that area is under investigation, but it appeared that all units were busy, officials said.
Wednesday’s was not the first visit by inspectors to the Santos Linguisa plant, just south of Oakland.
After inspectors insisted he meet a January deadline to raise the cooking temperature to kill harmful bacteria, Alexander closed the plant and accused agents of trying to drive him out of business. He apparently reopened in the last month.
State officials told the Chronicle they were there Monday and that Alexander was operating without federal or state permits. On Wednesday, the inspectors were there to cite him for not having a state permit.
Quadros’ 22-year-old son, Chris, said his father had talked about a continuing conflict with Alexander.
``I thought he was dealing with cows and sausage,″ Chris Quadros said. ``Guns were never a part of this.″
Alexander has also run into legal and financial troubles, including a 1996 arrest on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and other charges for allegedly attacking a neighbor in a dispute over garbage. The charges were dropped when he paid his neighbor $10,000, according to court records.