UPDATE 4 p.m.: The death toll in today’s Fresno workplace shooting has risen to three. The gunman, Lawrence Jones, at first survived his self-inflicted wound but died on the way to the hospital, according to the coroner. Meanwhile, one victim died in the hospital. Another victim died at the scene.
Original story below.
A man thought to be an ex-con and disgruntled employee opened fire at the Valley Protein (formerly known as Apple Valley Farms) chicken-processing plant in Fresno, California today, killing one victim before shooting himself.
The suspect, Lawrence Jones, 42, is in critical condition with a head wound.
Several outlets first reported at least two dead, including the suspect, with reports of wounded ranging as high as eight.
But a police press conference clarified that the gunman survived his self-inflicted gunshot, and that he shot four co-workers.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Jones shot up the workplace and then walked outside and shot himself.
Two victims plus the gunman are in critical condition. The condition of others is pending.
The carnage unfolded at 8:30 a.m. local time. KMPH reports that as many as 60 workers may have been in the plant during the shooting.
Jones had worked there for 14 months. Local crime writer Richard Winton tweeted earlier:
Gunman Lawrence Jones in Fresno chicken plant shooting is ex parolee w lengthy criminal record.
— Richard Winton (@LAcrimes) November 6, 2012
The Fresno Bee quotes a witness, Roger Medina, who was in a nearby McDonald’s and saw a man walk in wearing a meat-cutting vest:
He said, ‘There’s a guy shooting people over there.’
Another witness, Jesus Davila, was at a nearby bus stop. Someone from the plant ran up and reported the shooting, and then Davila heard a shot and saw the gunman, the Bee reported. The worker told Davila that the gunman was an unstable ex-con:
He said the guy was in nine years and he was crazy.
In a press conference, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, “We know that he has an extensive criminal history, that dates way back into the 90’s. To our knowledge, he is a discharged parolee… We have secured his residents here in Fresno. We are looking to insure that there were no other victims.”
The suspect, Lawrence Jones, previously had four prior felony strike conviction. The last one coming in 2002 when he was involved in a car chase that injured a family of four.
He was then diagnosed with “intermittent explosive disorder” and received a prison sentence of 10 years, 8 months in prison. During sentencing, the judge struck two of his prior strikes — making him ineligible for a life sentence under the three strikes law.