It was a tragic day at the Valley Protein plant in Central Fresno Tuesday morning, after an employee opened fire. Two people were killed and two others injured in what police say was a methodical shooting. The parolee then turned the gun on himself.
Police say this is the first fatal workplace shooting like this in Fresno, but unfortunately it’s a trend that’s becoming more common across the country.
A normal days work inside the Valley Protein plant, took a deadly turn. Police say 42 year old Lawrence Jones started his normal shift at 5 a.m. About three hours later, he set out on a shooting spree.
“I was working right there and i heard the gunshots and i just saw everybody running and screaming. The only thing I can remember is I saw one of the guys on the floor bleeding,” says employee, Berto Ordaz.
It was a terrifying and traumatic scene for Ordaz. He was close by when the shooting happened. Ordaz says Jones had not been acting himself.
“He was real quiet, he wasn’t talking to anybody. I don’t know if he had any enemies or any problems with anybody.”
Police say Jones shot and killed two men. 32 year old Salvador Diaz died on scene. 34 year old Manual Verdin later died at a local hospital.
28 year old Arnulfo Connriquez was shot in the neck and is still in serious condition.
Jones also shot Fatima Lopez as she was running out of the building. Police say she is recovering tonight.
According to investigators, Jones tried to shoot a fifth person, but ran out of bullets. Then he turned the gun on himself.
Fresno Police Chief, Jerry Dyer says, “When he got outside he reloaded his gun, put it to the side of his head and took his own life.”
What caused Jones to snap remains unknown, but police say it appears his targets were carefully thought out.
“He was very selective in who he shot. He had opportunity to shoot other co-workers who were in the business at that time, but chose not to.”
Jones had an extensive criminal history. He had been in and out of prison, but was recently paroled. He was living at this apartment complex on East Clinton Ave. A neighbor knew Jones as a quiet man who kept to himself. She was shocked to hear the news.
Neighbor, Stacey Williams says, “He just seemed like a real nice person. I would have never expected this from him.”
Around 65 people were at work when the gunfire broke out. Police say about 30 of them witnessed the shooting. Jones had worked at the plant for 14 months.
Police did do a search of Jones’s apartment. Inside they found 24 rounds of ammunition-the same type of ammunition used in Tuesday’s shooting. Authorities are trying to figure out if the gun Jones used was stolen.