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Victim wounded in Kansas plant shooting dies

Police say they don't know why employee opened fire


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Killings at a Kansas meatpacking plant.
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ConAgra Foods Incorporated

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (CNN) -- A sixth person died Saturday after being seriously wounded in a shooting spree Friday at a food plant in Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Ronald Miller said.

Miller said police don't know why Elijah Brown, 21, opened fire at the ConAgra plant late Friday afternoon.

"We can't determine with certainty all the things that occurred because all the people that could tell us that either haven't or are unable to," Miller told reporters. "Obviously, there's a motive for this. Why exactly, or what pushed him to do this, we really don't know."

"This is in effect a murder-suicide case," Miller said. "We have differing reports of the circumstances, but this is an employee who was in a meeting with others and afterwards produced a weapon and shot the other co-workers."

Police identified the other dead as Leonardo Rodriquez, 49; Lonnie Ellenberg, 46; Travis Nelson, 23; Ardell Edwards, 55; and a Mexican national whose next of kin has not yet been notified. Ellenberg, Nelson and Edwards were related, Miller said, but it was unclear if that had anything to do with the shooting.

Edwards died later at a hospital; the others, including Brown, died at the scene.

Two witnesses inside the plant spoke to CNN about how the events unfolded.

Andre Porter, a ConAgra employee, said he was confused at first.

"I seen him running past me and I asked him what he was doing popping firecrackers in here. He stopped for just a half second and then took off in a full sprint," Porter said. "That's when I seen the pistol and his right hand going back and forth."

Porter would later see Brown laying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Another employee, who asked to be identified by only his first name, Vince, said he feared for his life.

"I thought I was going to get shot. And then I thought, 'No I'm not. I'm here. I'm going to keep on moving.' Both my hands were filled with blood, and my pants. There was blood splattered on my jacket," he said.

He survived and crawled out of the cafeteria, where the shooting had taken place.

"I think [Brown] wanted to die and he wanted to take people with him. That's my opinion," Vince said.

Two wounded men were identified as Juan Ramirez, 44; and Victor Coggs, 60. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

Miller said an employee meeting took place between 4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., and the shooting started "a little after 5."

Witnesses said there was no argument during the meeting, though at least one described Brown, who had no criminal record, as "disgruntled."

Julie DeYoung, a ConAgra spokeswoman, said Brown was hired in September and laid off earlier this year because of production cutbacks, but that he had been called back about six weeks ago.

Miller said that there was "some truth" to a report that Brown may have had specific targets in mind and let others pass unharmed.

"There were some people that were in the general area that were not injured," he said. "We have information that he spoke to some people, and they left the area. We don't know what he said to them."

There were 160 people working at the plant when the shooting occurred. DeYoung said ConAgra, one of North America's largest packaged-food companies, would begin providing counseling for its employees and victims' families Saturday.


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