Three dead in workplace shooting at Alabama fire hydrant plant

·2 min read

(Reuters) -A 34-year-old fire hydrant factory worker opened fire at his workplace in Albertville, Alabama, early on Tuesday morning, killing two people and wounding two others before apparently turning the gun on himself, police said.

The suspect, whom police identified as Andreas Horton, used a handgun to start shooting at his fellow employees around 2:30 a.m. while he was working a shift at the Mueller Co, which makes fire hydrants, Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith told reporters on Tuesday.

Police identified the victims as Michael Lee Dobbins and David Lee Horton. Two wounded employees were transported to a nearby hospital and then to a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where their condition was not immediately known, Smith said.

The police chief said they were not aware of any relation between the shooter and David Lee Horton.

Smith said the suspect fled the scene in a maroon Jeep and authorities found him just before 6 a.m. in Guntersville, about 15 miles (24 km) from Albertville, a city of some 21,000 people in northeast Alabama. The suspect was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and multiple weapons were recovered from inside his vehicle, Smith said.

"At this time officers are still at the shooting scene at the Mueller Company processing for any additional evidence," Smith said, adding that authorities are still seeking a motive.

In a statement seen by local TV station WHNT, Mueller Co said it was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the shooting.

"Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the Albertville community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time," the company said.

A spokesperson for Mueller could not immediately be reached for further comment.

It was the latest of a recent series of fatal workplace shootings in the United States, where more than 19,000 people have died from gun violence so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group.

Earlier this month, a Los Angeles County firefighter fatally shot a colleague and severely wounded another before turning the gun on himself. Last month, a California transit employee killed nine co-workers at a light-rail yard for commuter trains of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. In April, a 19-year-old former employee at a FedEx site in Indianapolis shot and killed eight workers and then himself.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)

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