Three people are dead and three others were critically wounded at Apple Valley Farms in Fresno, California on Tuesday morning when a disgruntled chicken processing plant employee opened fire on his co-workers.
Forty-two-year-old shooter Lawrence Jones shot himself in the head after starting the deadly shooting a few hours into his shift.
Jones “did not appear to be himself” when he came to work Tuesday morning, police Chief Jerry Dyer said, citing one of Jones’ co-workers. The shooting began about 3 1/2 hours later.
A 32-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the head was pronounced dead at the scene. Jones was found outside the plant, police said.
“It is difficult to say at this point if in fact there was a specific target that Jones was looking for,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. “There was something that must have provoked this incident, perhaps that occurred today, or maybe was building up to today.”
Jones has an extensive criminal history dating back into the 1990s, Dyer said. Police said they had Jones’ home on lockdown and were searching to see if there were any other victims.
Jones arrived at work just before 5 a.m. About 3½ hours into his shift, he pulled out a handgun and began firing, Dyer said.
About 30 employees witnessed the shooting, and there were a total of 62 people at work when the gunfire started.
The company was established in 2005, according to online business records. A call to the company went to a voicemail recording that said “due to an emergency we are closed for the day.”
A woman who answered the phone at a listing for CEO Durbin Breckenridge and identified herself as his wife said she would pass a phone message to him.
News media and onlookers were kept several blocks from the plant, as police used yellow tape to block access. Dozens of officers swarmed the area.
Joe Martinez, 45, told the Fresno Bee that he was in the drive-through lane at McDonald’s when he heard a loud pop that he first thought was a car backfire.
Then he looked to the north and saw a man on the ground with two people standing over him.
“It’s the last thing you expect to see,” Martinez said. “It’s very upsetting.”