2 dead, 4 wounded in workplace shooting
BY PAULA STORY
Associated Press (6/5/97)
SANTA FE SPRINGS (AP) -- Two men were shot to death and four other people were wounded when an employee who had just argued with a
co-worker opened fire at a plastics company today, authorities said. The gunman later shot and fatally wounded himself on a South Central Los
Angeles street, said Sgt. Bill Webster of the Whittier Police Department.
``He pulled up next to a woman in a phone booth and produced a gun and put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger,'' said police spokesman Chuck
Drylie. He shot himself less than two hours after the first shooting.
Police identified the man as Daniel S. Marsden, 38. He was brought to Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center, where he died shortly after.
Marsden, a quality control inspector, began shooting inside Omni Plastics Inc. shortly before 10 a.m., Drylie said.
A 38-year-old Los Angeles man died at the scene and a 55-year-old man, whose hometown was unknown, died a few hours later at a hospital, Drylie
said. Three men were wounded and a 38-year-old woman was in very critical condition, Drylie said. It wasn't immediately known if the co-worker
involved in the argument was a victim. Seventy-five people were inside the business, an injection-molding plant and its business offices, at the time.
``A current employee walked into the business offices of this company and opened fire on employees sitting at their desks with what appeared to be a
small semi-automatic handgun,'' Drylie said.
The motive for the shootings wasn't known, he said.
``He was in fact at work for approximately an hour. He had been there at 8 o'clock this morning. He got into an argument with a fellow employee, a
gun was then produced and he started firing indiscriminately throughout the building,'' Drylie said.
Paramedics treated the wounded in the Omni Plastics parking lot before they were transported to local hospitals.
``At first I thought it was a car backfiring. The next thing you know I heard all this pop, pop sound, then he ran into the office and started shooting,
too,'' payroll employee Cindy Mora said.
Asked about a possible reason for the shooting, she said: ``I don't know what the story was behind it.''
Marsden worked at the company for about year, said Joe Plourde, vice president and general manager.
``This is astonishing to all of us,'' Plourde said.
Santa Fe Springs and adjacent Whittier are about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Police: Perceived insults sparked workplace killings
BY PAULA STORY
Associated Press (6/6/97)
SANTA FE SPRINGS -- A man who shot six people at a plastics plant was apparently angry because he believed co-workers thought he was gay and
that they were mocking him, police said today.
``He was heard yelling `I am not gay!' in a very angry manner, so that appears to be the motive for the shooting,'' said Chuck Drylie, a spokesman for
the Whittier Police Department, which investigated the rampage.
Two employees of Omni Plastics were killed Thursday and gunman Daniel S. Marsden of Long Beach shot himself to death after fleeing the
business. Three other employees and a visiting supplier were wounded.
Drylie said Marsden was arrested in 1986 for assault and battery and disturbing the peace. Assault and battery charges were dismissed but Marsden
pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace, and was given 36 months probation and ordered to pay a fine. Drylie had no other details of that arrest.
Some Omni employees thought Marsden was strange and easily moved to anger.
``He was weird,'' said co-worker Alfred Garcia, 28.
Plant workers and police had said previously that there was an argument involving Marsden Thursday morning but it remained unclear who was
involved and what specifically was said. Police would not say whether any of the victims were involved. A publicist for the company said Thursday
that Marsden stalked out of the plant and returned with a gun, but police said today that it remained uncertain where he got the gun.
After the rampage, Marsden drove to Los Angeles, stopped at an intersection and shot himself with the 9mm semiautomatic after threatening
bystanders. There were 75 people working at the plant when the shooting started.
``He didn't look like he was shooting at any particular person, he just began firing,'' said Cindy Mora, a 35-year-old payroll worker who hid under her
desk as the shots rang out.
``It was just mass hysteria. Everyone was screaming, `Get down! Get out of the way,''' she said.
The argument was a misunderstanding, said Joe Plourde, vice president and general manager. However, he would not say what the argument was
``It was something we would take as routine. He apparently interpreted it as if everybody were talking behind his back,'' he said.
Marsden shot a woman as she sat in a chair, then shot a man standing nearby. Moving into a conference room, he shot three others and then chased
and shot a man who tried to run away. Fifteen or 16 shots were fired.
``This doesn't make sense,'' Plourde said. ``The people he was shooting at were people you would think of as his friends.''
Hamad Wardak, 39, of Los Angeles died at the plant and Salvador Lara, 57, died later at a hospital, police and company officials said. Lawana Bryant,
33, was in critical condition today at Downey Community Hospital and Dan St. George, 40, was in serious condition at County-USC Medical Center.
Michael Gann, 30, of Thousand Oaks, a supplier to Omni, was in good condition at Whittier Hospital Medical Center, said spokeswoman Sherry
Slade. Jim Lauerman, 57, of Anaheim was transferred from the Whittier hospital in good condition to Martin Luther Hospital Medical Center in
Anaheim. Garcia, a technical administrator at the plant, described a recent incident when a colleague called Marsden ``Danny.'' Marsden, a quality
control inspector, was outraged. His name was Dan, he yelled. Marsden also would park his car far away from the plant, Garcia said.
One worker, who asked not to be identified, told the Los Angeles Times that Marsden would spend his lunch hour sitting in the car ``staring into
``Nobody knew what he was doing,'' said the employee. ``And then after work, he would sit in his car for another couple of hours. Everyone thought
that was weird.''
Omni Plastics spokeswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet said a memorial fund was set up for victims.
Santa Fe Springs is about 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.