US woman kills co-workers

2010-09-10 12:23

Philadelphia - A female employee who had just been suspended from her job and escorted from a Kraft Foods facility returned with a handgun and opened fire on Thursday, killing two people and critically injuring a third before being taken into custody about an hour later, police said.

The shooting happened in the city's northeast section shortly after 20:30 inside a plant of the nation's largest food manufacturer, whose products include Oreo cookies, Philadelphia cream cheese and Oscar Mayer bacon, police spokesperson Frank Vanore said.

The woman returned to the building in a car 10 minutes after being escorted out and drove through a security barrier before re-entering the building on foot, Vanore said.

As she walked inside, she fired a shot at an employee who had followed her in and had yelled: "Hide, she's got a gun," Vanore said. That shot missed.

'I heard gunfire, then ran'

The woman then shot the three victims, said police, who didn't immediately know the victims' identities or whether they had been targeted. Officers responded and isolated the shooter in a room, and she fired a shot at them but missed, Vanore said.

Officers freed seven people who were "in a bad position" near the woman and were hiding, Vanore said, but he wouldn't refer to them as hostages. The shooter eventually was apprehended around 21:00, he said.

Television footage showed workers leaving the Northfield, Illinois-based company's plant, which used to be known as the Nabisco factory. Police surrounded the plant minutes after the shooting, and roads in the area were detoured as officers swarmed nearby.

Dough mixer Andy Ryan, who has worked at the plant for nearly 30 years, said he was on the third floor when the sound of the shots echoed through the building.

"I heard the gunfire, and I ran," he told The Associated Press, his apron still on. "As I was running down the steps they were yelling, 'Oh, my God, there's three people shot!"'

The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported that about 100 people were inside the plant but had been cleared out.

Several telephone calls and emails to Kraft on Thursday night weren't immediately returned.
The identity of the suspended worker wasn't immediately released.