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Meat Plant Reopens After Rampage

Employees of a meatpacking plant where a co-worker went on a shooting rampage returned to work Tuesday, four days after the gunman killed five people and injured two others before killing himself.

The ConAgra Foods Inc. plant had been closed since Friday, when 21-year-old Elijah Brown — described by police as a disgruntled employee — opened fire during the Kansas City, Kansas, plant's 5 p.m. break.

A steady stream of employees arrived at the plant before the 7 a.m. start of the first shift, all showing ID to security. Reporters were not allowed into the plant.

Trucks making deliveries to the plant were turned away by security guards until 8 a.m., but the reason was unclear.

ConAgra spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said the shifts would begin with an employee meeting and short memorial service.

DeYoung said workers who don't feel like coming back to work so soon after the shootings won't be required to do so, and can use sick leave or personal days so they don't miss any pay.

"We're not going to force anyone to return to work if they feel they're not ready," she said Monday.

DeYoung said the plant is conducting an "in-depth security audit," similar to what it did after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In the meantime, she said, a private company that has been providing additional security at the plant since Saturday will remain at least until the end of the week.

"We feel like we've certainly taken a good hard look at security," she said.

Brown, of Kansas City, Kansas, was believed to have been involved in a spat with co-workers earlier last week. But authorities say that is just one of several possible motives for the 10-minute rampage.

The plant, which operates 24 hours a day, is about four miles (6 kilometers) southwest of downtown Kansas City. It produces processed and sliced meats for deli and sandwich products.

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