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Active Shooter Opens Fire in St. Louis Factory

Active Shooter Opens Fire in St. Louis Factory

Police identified the suspected shooter as Timothy Hendron, one of a number of employees who is suing the company. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

January 07, 2010

ST. LOUIS – An employee armed with an assault rifle and a handgun walked into a manufacturing plant Thursday morning and opened fire, killing at least three people and wounding five others, authorities said.

Several hours later, police were still inside Swiss-based ABB Group’s plant, going room to room in a search for both the gunman and additional victims, police Capt. Sam Dotson said. Authorities had not confirmed whether the shooter was among the eight.

Fire Department spokesman Bob Keuss identified the suspected shooter as Timothy Hendron of Webster Groves, a St. Louis suburb. Dotson said Hendron is an employee of the plant.

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The shooting occurred as a federal lawsuit Herndon and other ABB workers filed against the company in 2006 over their retirement plan was unfolding in a federal courtroom in Kansas City, Mo. Online court documents show that a bench trial began Tuesday and was expected to last at least three weeks.

The lawsuit seeks to recover financial losses by the workers’ 401(K) retirement plan, claiming that ABB and its pension-review committee caused the plan to include investment options with “unreasonable and excessive” fees and expenses.

Gunfire broke out around 6:30 a.m. during a shift change, and 40 to 50 people were likely in the plant at the time, Dotson said. As shots began to ring out, employees scurried to find safety.

“Many of them sought safety on the roof, in boilers and broom closets,” Dotson said.

Names of the victims were not immediately released. Police said three of the injured were in critical condition and two were in fair condition.

Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said firefighters and paramedics were standing by in case there were additional injuries, either from the shooting itself or from seeking refuge on the roof in bitter cold. The wind chill in St. Louis dipped below zero.

“It’s cold, and shock sets in, hypothermia,” Jenkerson said. “It doesn’t sound good.”

Dozens of emergency vehicles circled the sprawling plant on a day made more chaotic by several inches of snow that snarled traffic in the St. Louis region.

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