- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 28, 2003

CHICAGO (AP) — A man fired from an auto-parts warehouse six months ago came back with a gun yesterday and killed six employees in a rampage through a maze of engine blocks and 55-gallon drums before being shot to death by police.

The dead included two brothers who owned the business, and one of their sons.

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.

“He got up, he had the gun, they ordered him to drop the gun, he refused to drop the gun. That’s when the officer shot him,” acting Police Superintendent Phil Cline said.

Tapia, 36, lost his job at Windy City Core Supply for causing trouble at work and frequently showing up late or not at all, Superintendent Cline said. He said Tapia had made threatening calls to the owners since being fired.

The business’ third owner, Robert Bruggeman, was not in the building at the time of the shooting. Mr. Bruggeman has an unpublished telephone number and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Tapia had at least one previous conviction for unlawful use of a weapon, officials said.

Superintendent 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.

He said four persons died at the scene. Tapia and two others were taken to hospitals and died there.

Authorities identified the dead as Alan Weiner, 50, of Wilmette, and his brother, Howard Weiner, 59, of Northbrook. Howard Weiner’s son, Daniel Weiner, 30, also was killed.

The other victims were Calvin Ramsey, 44; Robert Taylor, 53; and Juan Valles, 34, all of Chicago.

“From the scene, it appears that he went throughout the supply warehouse shooting them,” Superintendent Cline said. “They weren’t all in one section.”

Tapia also tied one man’s hands behind his back, but the employee escaped unharmed, Superintendent Cline said. He was the only person inside the warehouse who survived the shooting, police said.

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 store were evacuated.



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