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Breaking News

Several Killed in Suburban Chicago Navistar Plant Shooting

Aired February 5, 2001 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of West suburban Chicago, reports of a person killed in a shooting today at an engine plant there. It happened at the Navistar International factory in Melrose Park. That's about 15 miles outside the city. Hospital officials say at least five people were shot. There are unconfirmed reports that the gunman is one -- is the one who was killed. The plant employs about 1,400 people and was evacuated after the shootings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIRLEY ANDERSON, NAVISTAR EMPLOYEE: People start panicking, you know. And then the next thing I know, they're telling us all, get out of the building.

QUESTION: Did you hear it?

ANDERSON: So I was able to grab my -- no, I heard nothing. All I know is I just ran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Joining us now on the telephone line is Navistar spokesman Roy Wiley.

Mr. Wiley, we understand that there's quite a bit going on there. Can you bring us up to date? Is the situation now under control? Is there any concern about any other shooters being on the facility?

ROY WILEY, NAVISTAR SPOKESMAN: The -- to the best of our knowledge, the situation is under control and we will have employee assistant teams counseling the employees this afternoon.

CHEN: All right, can you tell us what happened and why this occurred at your plant?

WILEY: Well, I -- Joie I don't have a lot of information on what happened. It happened early this morning. I think I can say, though, that there was a lot of speculation earlier that it might have been economic conditions or the result of economic conditions. I can say that there have been no layoffs, no recent layoffs at that plant, so that may not be an issue. We make midrange diesel engines there for our international medium-duty trucks and school buses, and production is going rather well. CHEN: Is the person who did the shooting, though, an employee of Navistar?

I have no information on that at the present time. I've heard reports of a former employee, but I wouldn't want to speculate.

CHEN: But that's not a facility that just anybody could walk into off the street.

WILEY: No, it's a secure facility that we have. To gain access you have to use a swipe card, and all the cards have the employees' photograph on it, and security is monitored on a regular basis.

CHEN: Can you talk to us about what you know about the current conditions? We have one person killed and at least four people wounded. Is that the number you're operating on now?

WILEY: I have no information on that. I've heard numbers passed around, but we have a policy of not speculating. I just would not want to speculate.

CHEN: All right, Roy Wiley of Navistar International, spokesman for that company joining us on the telephone line. We appreciate your information, sir.

Joining us now out on the scene there in Melrose Park, Illinois is CNN's Lisa Leiter.

Lisa, what can you tell us about what's going on there now?

LISA LEITER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, what we know right now is that the shooting occurred at about 10:12 a.m. this morning here at the Navistar International engine plant in Melrose Park. Workers on the scene here said that what they know is that a man came in with two weapons. What we do not know is whether one of those weapons was an automatic weapon. There are some unconfirmed reports out there that there was an AK-47 involved, but that -- those are unconfirmed reports.

Apparently, workers here tell us, this is an employee who was fired a couple of years ago for stealing. We have that from a couple of workers here as well.

Now, preliminary reports from the Cook County sheriff are pointing to four dead and five wounded. Again, those are preliminary reports from the sheriff's office. Two of those men have already been brought to a local hospital here, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital; one was dead on arrival, and that is a 48-year-old man; another is in critical condition right now in surgery, and he's a 45-year-old man.

What hospital spokesmen do not know is whether the man that was dead on arrival was the suspect. He apparently turned the gun on himself after shooting the other victims.

Loyola Hospital, another local hospital, confirming that they have two victims -- at least two victims as well: a 26-year-old man who is in critical condition with a gunshot wound and a 24-year-old man who is in fair condition.

We talked to one worker today who is in the engineering department, and let's listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The technicians ran through and said some guy had a gun in our center aisle, which is where we test our engines. And at first, you know, we didn't believe it. We just thought they were making a joke. But then we heard the shots and most of us just got up and left as fast as we could, headed out through the exits. I heard about three shots. And then I worked my way through an exit through the basement, and then I heard about two more shots, and then I left the building.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEITER: Well, Joie, obviously that is a developing situation here. We know that there are about 1,400 employees here at Navistar International, and the whole building has been evacuated -- Joie.

CHEN: Lisa, I just want you to confirm again you have received information from the Cook County sheriff -- that is the sheriff for that area -- about the number of deaths and injuries that they're -- the number they're operating on at this point. Can you confirm that for us? because I think it's different from what we were hearing before.

LEITER: Well, again, Joie, those were preliminary reports, and it's four dead and five wounded. But it looks like they may be briefing reporters right now and we'll bring you more information as soon as we have it.

CHEN: All right, CNN's Lisa Leiter on the scene for us in Melrose Park, Illinois.

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