Archive for Friday, August 29, 2003

Survivor of warehouse shooting expresses remorse for victims

August 29, 2003

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— Eduardo Sanchez had just arrived at the auto-parts warehouse where he worked and was about to put his lunch away when he heard a familiar voice behind him, offering a choice:

"Do you want me to tie you up, or do you want to die?"

The voice belonged to Salvador Tapia, a former co-worker who had been fired from the warehouse six months earlier.

"I said, 'Tie me up.' I didn't want to die," said Sanchez.

Before Sanchez managed to escape and alert police, Tapia had shot to death the six remaining men in the warehouse, including two of the owners, who were brothers. Tapia, 36, was killed in a gun battle with police.

In an interview conducted Thursday, a day after Tapia's rampage, Sanchez, a 48-year-old father of three, described a nightmare scene of bodies, blood and gunshots, and told of the guilt he felt at not being able to warn his co-workers at Windy City Core Supply.

Tapia confronted Sanchez shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday and used a piece of rope to tie him to a metal rail. Tapia told him the son of one of the owners -- a man who often arrived first to open the warehouse -- was already dead.

"He said, 'You haven't done anything to me. I am going to kill all of them. I want to kill everybody,'" Sanchez said.

Tied to the railing, Sanchez was forced to listen as Tapia killed the men one by one as they arrived for work.

Eduardo Sanchez, the sole survivor of a warehouse shooting that
left seven dead, describes his ordeal as his daughter Cristina
looks on. In an interview Thursday in Chicago, Eduardo Sanchez said
his feelings of immense luck were overshadowed by the guilt he felt
for not being able to alert his co-workers to what waited for them.
A co-worker who had been fired killed six people Wednesday.

Eduardo Sanchez, the sole survivor of a warehouse shooting that left seven dead, describes his ordeal as his daughter Cristina looks on. In an interview Thursday in Chicago, Eduardo Sanchez said his feelings of immense luck were overshadowed by the guilt he felt for not being able to alert his co-workers to what waited for them. A co-worker who had been fired killed six people Wednesday.

At one point, Tapia returned to within sight of Sanchez. Sanchez said Tapia shot himself three times, fell to the ground, then stood back up.

"He looked like the devil. He was completely covered in blood," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the rope had enough slack that he was able to work free from the rail. He went down a ramp and into the basement.

Sanchez ran out onto the street, his hands still bound behind his back. He met a truck driver headed to the warehouse, then ran into Robert Bruggeman, the company's third owner -- who police said was late to work because of an expressway crash.

Together, they alerted police.

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