0

Three dead in office shooting

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A former employee opened fire at an Albuquerque fiber optics manufacturer Monday, killing two people and wounding four others before turning the gun on himself in what police called a domestic violence dispute.

The shooting at Emcore Corp. appeared to involve the 37-year-old gunman's girlfriend, police Chief Ray Schultz said. It was not immediately clear whether she was among the dead.

Chaos unfolded as the gunman opened fire, sending employees fleeing for cover as police locked down the entire neighborhood. Police were alerted to the shooting shortly before 9:30 a.m. Five officers were inside the building within three minutes, Schultz said.

The Emcore campus was surrounded by police cars, many arriving with sirens wailing, as helicopters circled overhead.

The chief called the Emcore campus "a very secure facility" and said it appeared the gunman forced his way into the building and entered several areas. Schultz said detectives and FBI agents were reviewing surveillance video.

"It was a large and complex shooting scene," he said.

Schultz said one victim who confronted the gunman was found dead outside the building. The other victims included the gunman, who was found inside, and a person who died at University Hospital.

Schultz said the gunman carried a handgun, and investigators were trying to determine if there were additional weapons. No victims' names have been released, and an investigation was continuing.

Schultz said the gunman and his girlfriend had children who live in Rio Rancho and said the youths were taken into custody by "another agency." The chief said there was at least one previous domestic violence call involving the gunman but that it was outside Albuquerque.

He said 226 people were transported by bus from Emcore buildings to a community center, where detectives interviewed them. Employees also were offered grief counseling and treatment for asthma or diabetic conditions.

Schultz initially said six were dead, then explained at a later news conference later that the responding officers had seen people down and believed they were dead, then continued into the building to search for the gunman. He characterized it as standard practice when a crime scene could have an active shooter.

"You work to get the shooter contained, then you triage the victims. That's what happened here," Schultz said.