Gunman, 3 Victims Dead in Chicago Tower
CHICAGO (AP) _ A gunman carried a cache of weapons past security in a giant envelope Friday afternoon, chained a law office’s doors closed and fatally shot three people before a police sniper killed him as he held a hostage at gunpoint, authorities said.
Officers entered through another door in the U-shaped office, and a SWAT officer shot the gunman from about 45 yards away, Superintendent Phil Cline said.
There was no negotiation and the hostage was unharmed, he said.
The shootings at the 43-story Citigroup Center, which also houses a train station, sent office workers fleeing and stranded rush-hour commuters.
Cline said the gunman, who was armed with a revolver, a knife and hammer, didn’t work in the office but demanded to see one of the victims who was killed.
``He was not employed there but we feel he did have previous encounters with the individuals in that office,″ Cline said.
Fire officials said they received reports of shots fired on the 38th floor, which houses law offices, around 3:15 p.m.
The shooter ``grabbed a hostage and he was pointing a gun alternately at the hostage’s head and his own head,″ Cline said.
There were about 30 people on the floor during the shooting. The law office specializes in patent law, officials said.
None of the dead victims, all men, or the gunman was identified. A fourth victim, a woman, was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot, but was expected to be released later Friday night, Rush University Medical Center spokeswoman Kim Waterman said.
Cindy Penzick, secretary in a law firm on the 37th floor, said that after a co-worker told her she heard gunshots, a police officer with his gun drawn on their floor yelled at them to get out.
Penzick said she is usually calm, ``But I have to tell you this was scary as hell.″
People hurried down the escalators and ran from the skyscraper on the west side of downtown.
Keegan Greene, who works at Verizon Wireless on the first floor, was helping a customer when fire alarms began going off.
``One of the security guards came up to us and started saying, ``Run, run, run, run, run!″ Greene said.
Service on the Metra commuter line was suspended for more than an hour and area buses were diverted while the incident unfolded. Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said all Metra crew members had been locked into secure areas before train service resumed just after 5 p.m.
Janet Buswell, an office manager on the 25th floor, said her staff learned of the incident when emergency flashers went off and they were told over building speakers to secure their offices and let no one in or out.
``It was a little tense, when you don’t know what’s going on,″ said Buswell, of RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. ``Of course this is the train station building, so there’s always the fear that could be targeted.″
Associated Press writers Don Babwin, Deanna Bellandi and Dave Carpenter contributed to this report.