Kansas City Workplace Shooting
By BILL DRAPER
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) -- A sixth person shot in a rampage at a meatpacking plant died Saturday, and investigators said they still have not determined the gunman's motive.
Authorities identified the shooter as Elijah Brown, 21, of Kansas City, Kan., who was hired at the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in September 2003, laid off because of production downturns, and then called back to work a few months ago.
Five people died at the plant Friday, including Brown, who killed himself. The sixth died overnight at a Kansas City, Kan., hospital, police said.
Police Chief Ron Miller identified the victims as Lonnie Ellingburg, 46; Travis Nelson, 23; and Leonardo Rodriguez, 49, all of Kansas City, Kan.; Ardell L. Edwards, 55, of Grandview, Mo., the worker who died overnight; and a Mexican national who was not identified.
Two workers were wounded. Miller identified them as Juan Ramirez, 44, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Victor Coggs, whose age and hometown were not immediately available.
The ConAgra Foods Inc. workers were on break at 5 p.m. Friday when the 10-minute rampage began. More than one weapon was used, Deputy Police Chief Sam Breshears said.
Plant employee Andre Porter, who encountered the gunman right after hearing the first shot, said the shooter had a conflict with some of the workers earlier in the week, but did not describe the conflict.
Porter, 38, said he was in the men's locker room when he heard a shot. He said he then saw the shooter and asked, "What are you doing ... shooting fireworks?"
He said the gunman glanced at him, then sprinted out of the locker room. Porter said that's when he noticed the man was carrying a handgun and saw a co-worker lying motionless in the hallway. Shortly after, he heard 10 to 12 shots fired rapidly in the nearby cafeteria.
Porter said he alerted other workers to stay put or get out of the building.
Employees were kept at the plant for hours for interviews with police while friends and family gathered outside, waiting for word.
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"Everybody out here is trying to find out if their loved one is a victim or a survivor," said Robert Thompson, whose wife was inside when the shooting took place. Thompson later learned his wife was OK.
The ConAgra plant is in an industrial section of the city, about four miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, Mo. Workers there process and slice meat for deli and sandwich products, company spokesman Bob McKeon said.
ConAgra is working with police in the investigation, but had no other details, McKeon said in a telephone interview from Omaha, Neb., where the company has headquarters.
The plant, which operates 24 hours a day, was to remain closed indefinitely while the shooting was being investigated, she said.
The shooting came a year and a day after an employee of a manufacturing plant in Jefferson City, Mo., shot eight people, three fatally, before killing himself in front of the city's police headquarters.
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