- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

CHICAGO (AP) — A man fired from an auto-parts warehouse six months ago came back with a gun yesterday and killed or fatally wounded six employees in a rampage before being fatally shot by police.

Salvador Tapia died in a gunbattle he waged with police inside and outside the building, hiding behind a container as he fired his semiautomatic pistol, authorities said.

Tapia, 36, lost his job for causing trouble at work and frequently showing up late or not at all, acting Police Superintendent Phil Cline said. He said Tapia had an extensive arrest record.

Mr. Cline said that when police arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m., they tried to enter the building but were driven back by gunfire. He said that when an assault team entered the building, the members had trouble maneuvering through all the auto parts.

Tapia also tied one man’s hands behind his back, but the employee escaped unharmed, Mr. Cline said. He said four persons died at the scene. Tapia and two others were taken to hospitals and died there.

Al Martinez said he was at the business he owns a half-block away when he heard the gunfire.

“We saw a guy shooting at police officers outside the building and saw people running around like crazy,” said Mr. Martinez, who owns Midway Pallets. “We came and saw all the cops running, hiding behind cars.”

Pamela George was cooking at the Dox Grill across the street when a warehouse worker ran in, looking for a phone. “He said someone was in there shooting. He was really scared, like a chicken with its head cut off,” she said.

She said police arrived and evacuated the restaurant within five minutes. All buildings within a block of the auto-parts and -supply store were evacuated.

It was the nation’s deadliest workplace shooting since July 8, when Doug Williams, 48, gunned down 14 co-workers, killing six, at a Lockheed Martin aircraft-parts plant in Meridian, Miss., before taking his own life.

In the Chicago area, William D. Baker, 66, killed four persons and himself at a Navistar International engine plant in suburban Melrose Park in February 2001.

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