Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2001

35 feared shot at Indiana factory

December 6, 2001


— As many as 35 people were feared shot Thursday at a simulated-wood factory by a man authorities described as a disgruntled employee.

No deaths were immediately reported, but hospitals in the northern Indiana community treated at least three people for gunshot wounds and were told to expect 30 to 35 more people from the scene.

The suspect was at large and police did not immediately enter the Nu-Wood Decorative Millwork building after the shooting was reported.

Sheriff's Capt. Julie Dijkstra said authorities feared there were employees still inside, some of them possibly wounded. Workers told authorities an automatic weapon was used and some injuries appeared to be shotgun wounds, she said.

Employees also told police the suspect had either just been fired or was about to be fired. "The first reports are that it was a disgruntled employee," Dijkstra said.

Police and SWAT teams surrounded the factory and cordoned off the area. At least a dozen ambulances were lined up near the complex in an industrial park on the edge of town.

A nearby elementary school went into a temporary lockdown to keep students who had not already gone on the bus safe inside the school, officials said. Goshen College, a small school run by Mennonites, also told its students and faculty to stay indoors.

Donna Rohrer, vice president of Goshen General Hospital, told MSNBC that three patients had been treated for wounds. Another patient was taken by helicopter to Elkhart.

A Goshen police dispatcher would not provide any information, but said that all officers were being called in. Officers from several departments were being sent to the scene, Indiana State Police said.

"There are cops on the roof of a building east of Nu-Wood and the alley is filled with cops, with guns drawn," said Roy Beaupain, president of nearby Economy Offset Printers.

Chris Barouska, parts manager at a neighboring Ingersoll-Rand factory, said numerous police officers were on the scene.

"The place is smothered in cops," Barouska said. "Completely surrounded."

Goshen, a community of 29,000 people, is about 100 miles east of Chicago. Nu-Wood makes a polyurethane-based product that resembles white pine and is used as decorative trimming by homebuilders and remodelers.

Goshen High School Principal Ted Mahnensmith said the sheriff's department asked to use the school's parking lot for gathering families. The school is about two miles from the factory.

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