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Death Toll in Print Shop Shootings Reaches Nine

September 19, 1989

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ The death toll from a shooting rampage at a printing plant rose to nine Monday with the death of a plant worker who was wounded. Four other victims were buried Monday.

Kenneth Fentress of Louisville died about 5 p.m. Monday, said a spokeswoman at Humana Hospital University. Fentress, 45, suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and leg during last Thursday’s rampage.

He was one of 13 wounded when Joseph T. Wesbecker sprayed the Standard Gravure Corp. printing plant with gunfire from an AK-47 rifle. Wesbecker, who then killed himself, had been on permanent disability leave from the plant for the past year because of mental illness.

Meanwhile, two anti-gun organizations, hoping to mobilize a grassroots movement in the wake of the shootings, placed ads in a statewide newspaper Monday to enlist support to ban various weapons.

In a related development, the gun shop owner in Louisville who sold Wesbecker the AK-47 and a MAC-11 pistol said he has decided to quit ordering the semiautomatic weapons for customers.

″The weapons are so controversial right now that we just don’t want to fool with them any longer,″ said Jack Tilford, owner of Tilford’s Gun Sales.

President Bush has banned the import of foreign-made assault rifles into the United States, including the AK-47. However, possession of these weapons is not a federal offense, nor does the import ban prevent them from being manufactured domestically.

A full-page ad in The Courier-Journal from the Louisville Council on Peacemaking and Religion called for the abolition of assault weapons, saying ″there is no compelling reason″ to possess ″these terrible instruments.″

Readers were asked to send the ad to U.S. Sens. Wendell Ford, D-Ky, and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

″I’m deeply disturbed by the recent outbreaks of violence in our state, and believe we must take action to stop such vicious crimes,″ McConnell said. But he added: ″We need to be careful about legislating in the middle of a crisis.″

McConnell referred to a police standoff Monday in which a 17-year-old armed teen-ager held 11 classmates at a high school in McKee. The boy later released the hostages and surrendered.

Ford will consider the group’s views when gun-control legislation comes before the full Senate, said his spokeswoman, Susan Elmendorf.

The Handgun Control Inc. placed an in the Louisville newspaper featuring Sarah Brady, wife of former presidential press secretary James Brady, who was critically injured in the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981.

Funerals in the print shop shootings were held Monday for William S. Ganote Sr., 46; Paul S. Sallee, 60; James G. ″Buck″ Husband, 47; and Lloyd R. White, 42.

18-89 2018EDT

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