SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The 48-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting two colleagues and seriously injuring another in a Illinois central warehouse died Friday after apparently shooting himself, the city’s police chief said.
Springfield police believe Michael L. Collins fatally shot himself Friday after shooting and killing two colleagues in the Bunn-O-Matic facility shortly after 11 a.m. Collins from Springfield was also seriously injured in another woman, police said.
Collins, the two other men, and the woman all went to work in the facility’s welding room at about 7:00 a.m. Friday, Springfield police chief Kenny Winslow told reporters Friday evening. They all worked in the same area, he said.
Winslow said the nearby Morgan County sheriff called his office later on Friday to say that Collins’ body had been found in the suspect’s car. Two pistols were found in the car. No other suspects were sought.
Winslow released the name of Collins earlier on Friday, but later said he wouldn’t repeat it. The names of the victims were not disclosed, as was the name of the female colleague who was in a critical condition in a hospital.
“Words cannot explain what happened,” Winslow said Friday night. “I know we all want answers. People want motives. I don’t have that right now. It is too early in the investigation. ‘
The bodies of the two dead workers were found by officers searching the building. The female worker was found in the parking lot and taken to a hospital. Winslow said that one of the men who died was in her sixties, one in his twenties and the woman in her fifties.
“We’re trying to verify whether something happened today, or if there is an activity that could cause something like that,” he continued. “We’re digging in the suspect’s background. We contact acquaintances and family members of his. ‘
Bunn-O-Matic manufactures distributed beverage equipment and is headquartered in Springfield, according to the company’s website.
An employee described a chaotic scene when gunfire cracking broke an otherwise quiet work day. Charles Bantle estimated that about half of warehouse workers were not working because of concerns about the corona virus.
“I was in the maintenance shop and just heard the shots and everyone started running,” Bantle told The (Springfield) State Journal Register. “And I’m in maintenance, so I thought something was broken. So I started walking over there, thought it was the air compressor blowing up or something, and I had to go fix it. But then everyone screamed and screamed and told me to go the other way. So we all ran and took cover. ‘
Nearly 175 workers were on site at the site at the time of the shooting, Winslow said. About 100 workers rushed out of the main building, and police gathered them to determine if everyone had left the facility, he said.
“We’re still trying to see exactly when he left,” Winslow said of the suspect.
Winslow said investigators are working with the federal agency on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives to determine if the weapons in Collins’ car were legally obtained. They are also investigating how Collins was able to get a weapon into the Springfield facility.
“I don’t know what the protocols are right now to enter the building,” Winslow said. “I don’t know what safety mechanism they have or don’t have. ‘
Babwin reported from Chicago. Reporter Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan contributed to this report.
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