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Police Praise Shooting Victim in Factory Shooting Spree

February 8, 1985

SKOKIE, Ill. (AP) _ A man who lost his right eye when he was shot while trying to disarm a co- worker in a shooting spree that left two other people wounded was credited by police Thursday with cutting short the violence.

Richard Zirbes, 33, was shot as he tried to wrest a .32-caliber pistol away from Jerry Wayne Powell, a lab technician who was looking for two supervisors he apparently believed were responsible for his three-day suspension from work, said Police Sgt. David Hussey.

″What he did was commendable,″ Hussey said of Zirbes. ″He had to pay the price.″

Powell, 32, of Des Plaines, identified by police as the gunman, remained in Cook County Jail on Thursday under $1 million bond. He has been charged with three counts each of attempted murder, armed violence and aggravated battery.

Zirbes, whose right eye was removed during surgery late Wednesday, was reported in good condition Thursday at Skokie Valley Hospital, according to spokeswoman Caroline Geishecker.

″Yes, he is the kind of guy who would step in and do that,″ Zirbes’ wife, Debbie, said of her husband’s actions.

Also wounded in the Wednesday attack were Mona Soloky, 33, of Chicago, and Peter Hakanson, 42, of Palatine.

Ms. Soloky was reported in critical but stable condition at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, said spokeswoman Carol Krashen. Hakanson was listed in fair condition at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to spokeswoman Barbara Burrill.

Powell, a lab technician, was told by Ms. Soloky about 9 a.m. Wednesday that because of ″poor production″ he was going to be suspended for three days or transferred to another shift at the Wells Manufacturing Co., Hussey said.

After further meetings with Ms. Soloky, his supervisor, and Hakanson, the personnel manager, Powell was told he would be suspended for three days, Hussey said.

Powell then told them he was going home because he was sick, police said.

He went home, got a gun and returned about 11:10 a.m., police said. He walked into an office, shot Ms. Soloky in the head, and then went into an adjacent office and shot Hakanson, police said.

After struggling with and wounding Zirbes, who happened to be in the office, Powell ″handed the gun to the secretary close by,″ Hussey said. ″There was no attempt to escape or offer resistance.″

Powell told police he had worked at Wells Manufacturing for nine years.

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