MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A former employee who last worked at an Atlanta-area truck rental company six months ago chose his targets at random when he went on a shooting rampage and killed two people, a company official said Wednesday.
Jessie James Warren, 60, donned camouflage and opened fire at the Penske Truck Rental facility Tuesday, authorities said. Warren was arrested about a mile from the facility and a judge denied him bond in a brief court hearing.
Killed were Van Springer, 59, and Jaider Phillipe Marulanda, 43, said Cobb County Police Officer Joe Hernandez. A third victim, 31-year-old Roberto Gonzalez, was pronounced dead at WellStar Kennestone Hospital late Wednesday but his body was on life support so he could donate organs, said spokesman Keith Bowermaster.
Four victims were Penske employees while Marulanda was a truck driver for a food distributor that is a Penske customer, said Brian Hard, the president of Penske Truck Leasing.
“It appears to have been random, to come in and shoot one of our customers who couldn’t possibly have been involved in any grievance,” Hard said.
Warren, who asked a judge for a court-appointed attorney, worked at Penske as a technician from June 2005 until July, said Hard. He would not say why Warren left the company, but Barbara Springer, a widow of one of the victims, said Warren was laid off.
Barbara Springer said Warren “had some issues,” though she would not elaborate. Police described Warren as a “disgruntled ex-employee.”
“We are all still trying to understand what happened and we are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials,” said Hard.
It was the second fatal U.S. workplace shooting this month. Timothy Hendron, an employee at an ABB Inc. electrical plant in St. Louis, was accused of shooting hundreds of rounds of ammunition through the sprawling plant, killing three men and injuring five others before killing himself.
In Georgia, about two dozen employees were working at the Penske office in suburban Kennesaw, a city about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta. The Penske complex consists of a couple of large buildings with bay doors.
The gunman first confronted someone in the parking lot before moving to the truck bay area, shooting victims along the way, said Hernandez. Warren did not try to enter the building’s second floor, which houses a small administration office.
Injured in the shooting Zachariah J. Werner, 35, and Joshua B. Holbrook, 27. The two men were in critical condition, said Bowermaster.
After the shootings, authorities said the gunman hopped in his pickup truck and sped away. Cobb County authorities soon surrounded his vehicle and arrested him. He has been charged with two counts of murder and five counts of aggravated assault.
A man who witnessed the arrest said the suspect looked “out of his mind” and “all drugged up.”
“The cops walked up on both sides of the truck, he opened the door and they threw him on the ground,” Michael Robertson said. “He pretty much just gave up.”
Warren is listed as living in a rundown house with an overgrown lawn off a two-lane highway in the rural west Georgia town of Temple. No one answered the door at his house Tuesday night. Several neighbors said they didn’t know him.
Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.