4 dead, including suspect, after Maryland warehouse shooting

2018-09-21 08:22
Police officers gather below crime scene tape in front of a Rite Aid Distribution Centre where multiple people were killed and injured in a shooting on September 20, 2018 in Aberdeen, Maryland. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

Police officers gather below crime scene tape in front of a Rite Aid Distribution Centre where multiple people were killed and injured in a shooting on September 20, 2018 in Aberdeen, Maryland. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

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A woman working a temporary job at a drugstore warehouse in Maryland got into an argument at work on Thursday morning and began shooting colleagues, killing three before fatally turning the gun on herself, authorities and witnesses said.

Workers at the Rite Aid distribution centre in northeastern Maryland described terrifying moments of "crazy" gunfire and people screaming and running in all directions after the shooting. Others said they helped the wounded, one person tying blood-soaked jeans around a man's injured leg in a bid to stop the bleeding.

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said at a news conference that the woman was later identified as a temporary employee of the distribution centre, Snochia Moseley of Baltimore County.

"She had reported for her workday as usual, and around 09:00 the shooting began, striking victims both outside the business and inside the facility," Gahler said. "We do not at this time have a motive for this senseless crime."

Krystal Watson, 33, said her husband, Eric, works at the facility and told her that the suspect had been arguing with somebody else near a time clock after a "town hall meeting".

"And she went off," she said.

"She didn't have a particular target. She was just shooting," Watson said as she drove away from a fire station where relatives tried to reunite with loved ones.

The sheriff said the call about shots fired came in at about 09:06 and deputies and other officers were on the scene in just over five minutes. The shooting began outside the business and continued inside, he said.

It appears only one weapon was used — a 9 mm Glock handgun that was registered in Moseley's name — and no shots were fired by responding law enforcement officers, Gahler said.

'Shooting like crazy'

Walter Zambrano, 64, who described himself as a worker at the distribution centre, said he was in the bathroom when shooting broke out and saw nothing as he hid, frightened for his life.

The person was "shooting like crazy", Zambrano said, speaking in Spanish.

He said the gunfire seemed to go on several minutes, and when it was over he sprinted outdoors. On the way out, he said he saw a female co-worker down on the floor. The scene, he said, was one of chaos.

"Everyone was screaming, running this way and that. I didn't know which way to run," he said.

The sheriff said three victims were fatally shot and three more were wounded but were expected to survive. They were not immediately identified. Moseley died at a hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Gahler said.

Area hospitals reported receiving five patients from the incident.

Susan Henderson, spokesperson for the drugstore chain Rite Aid, described the building where the shooting took place as a support facility adjacent to a larger building. The company said in a statement that the facility had been closed temporarily and grief counsellors will be made available to workers.

The company didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about Moseley's employment history.

'A too-often occurrence' of such incidents 

Mike Carre, an employee of a furniture logistics operation next to the distribution centre, said he helped tend to a wounded man who came hobbling in, bleeding from his leg. He called 911 from a bathroom before helping colleagues wrap the man's blood-soaked jeans above his injury to cut off blood flow.

Carre said the man told him the shooter "just came in in a bad mood this morning. He said she's usually nice. But today, I guess it wasn't her day. She just came in to pick a fight with someone."

"She pulled out a gun and she just started shooting at her co-workers."

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said that, unfortunately, incidents like this are "becoming a too-often occurrence not only in Harford County but in the country."

The attack came nearly three months after a man armed with a shotgun attacked a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five staff members. Authorities accused Jarrod W Ramos of attacking The Capital Gazette because of a longstanding grudge against the paper.

It came less than a year after a fatal workplace shooting less than 16km from the warehouse, in which five were shot, three fatally. And it followed another shooting on Wednesday in Wisconsin in which authorities say a gunman shot four co-workers before being killed by responding officers.

On Thursday, 33-year-old Dominique Norton of Aberdeen, endured an excruciating wait of nearly two hours to be reunited with her mother, 62-year-old warehouse worker Irene Norton. Dominique Norton said she didn't know that her mother was unharmed until she got off a bus at the fire station and they tearfully embraced.

"I busted out crying. I was relieved and shaken," she said. "I am praying for all of the victims."


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