Autoworker's Grudge Turns Deadly

About 100 people stand in line for the reopening of the Original SoupMan gourmet takeout that inspired the Soup Nazi character on "Seinfeld," New York, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) AP

An autoworker wired a shotgun to his body and burst into a Jeep assembly plant, killing a supervisor and wounding two other employees before killing himself.

The alleged gunman, Myles Meyers, had met with plant officials to talk about a problem with his work the day before his fatal spree Wednesday at a Jeep Liberty Plant, authorities said.

After entering the plant at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Meyers had pointed the gun at a woman in the plant's body shop office and ordered her to summon three other people, telling her he did not plan to hurt her, police Chief Mike Navarre said.

"He gave her three names. He told her who he wanted and who he was going to shoot," Navarre said.

She summoned one of the three men, Michael Toney, who was shot and wounded. Supervisor Roy Thacker, who was on the list of three, was killed after he went to the office on his own, while a third man who was not on the list, Paul Medlen, was wounded later, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the woman then ran out of the office and warned co-workers over the radio, police said.

Medlen, wounded in the chest, was in critical condition and Toney, hit in the arm, was in fair condition Thursday, said a nursing supervisor at St. Vincent Medical Center.

Meyers, 54, of Toledo did not show up at work as scheduled Wednesday but used his employee access card to get into the plant, police Capt. Ron Spann said at a news conference Thursday.

Meyers met a day earlier with his bosses and union leaders to talk about a problem, but he was not disciplined, said Mary Beth Halprin, a spokeswoman for Chrysler Group, a division of Jeep's parent company, DaimlerChrysler.

"The issue had been resolved amicably," she said Thursday. "We had been given no hint that something like this would happen."

All production shifts at the plant were halted, Halprin said.

Dispatchers received 15 to 20 calls from people inside the auto plant after the shooting, and employees were running out of the building when authorities arrived. Officers chased them, not knowing who the shooter was, and not realizing he was already dead.

"It was pretty chaotic for a good 20 to 25 minutes," Navarre said.

The bomb squad was called when police noticed wires coming out from under Meyers' coat, apparently from a homemade wire sling he had used to conceal the weapon. A stuffed animal was strapped to the back of his neck to cushion the sling.

A woman who answered the telephone at a home listed as Meyers' early Thursday said she had no comment.

A neighbor, Lizzette King, said Meyers and his wife, Angie, separated about two years ago.

After news of the shooting, Meyers' wife was "in a daze. She didn't know what to do," said King, who has lived next to the family for about 10 years in their middle-class neighborhood of ranch homes.

"He was very nice to me," said King, 87. "If he saw me carrying something he'd get it for me."
  • Christine Lagorio

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