6 Killed In Henderson Factory Shooting

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) - A man who killed five people and himself in a rampage at a western Kentucky plastics plant called his girlfriend two hours before the rampage to warn her that he was going to kill his boss, police said Wednesday.

Police said Wesley N. Higdon, 25, had an argument with his supervisor about wearing safety goggles and using his cell phone while was at his press machine Tuesday.

Later that night, as the supervisor escorted him from the building, Higdon shot him, apparently using a .45-caliber pistol he kept in his car. Then, he charged into a break room and the plant floor and kept shooting before turning the gun himself, police said.

"He just walked in, looked like he meant business, and started shooting at everybody," Henderson Police Sgt. John Nevels said at a news conference.

A man who called 911 frantically described the violent scene to a dispatcher, tallying up the number of dead around him.

"There's more than two people dead. There's like one, two, three, four, five people dead," the man said. "The supervisor is dead, too."

The killings stunned the sleepy Ohio River town of about 28,000 people, where a local leader said many residents know or are related to a worker at the plant. The plant, operated by Atlanta-based Atlantis plastics, employs about 150 people and makes parts for refrigerators and plastic siding for homes.

Henderson County Coroner Bruce Farmer identified the supervisor as Kevin G. Taylor, 30, of Dixon. The slain co-workers were Trisha Mirelez, 25; Rachael Vasquez, 26 and Joshua Hinojosa, 28, all of Sebree; and Israel Monroy, 29, of Henderson. Shooting survivor Noelia Monroy, Israel's sister, was hospitalized in nearby Evansville, Ind.

"Our whole community is in shock," Henderson County Judge- xecutive Sandy Watkins said.

Employees at the company were sent home Wednesday, but the company said that it hoped to resume limited operations at night. Atlantis Plastics CEO Bud Philbrook told The Associated Press in an interview in Atlanta that the company was reeling.

"It's just total shock. It's something you read about in the paper," hilbrook said.

Investigators were trying to piece together the timing of the shooting spree. Philbrook said that Higdon didn't appear to have any previously disciplinary problems at the plant.

Nevels said family members told detectives that Higdon kept a .45 caliber pistol in his car almost all the time, which is permissible in Kentucky.

Four of the victims were members of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Sebree, Ky., said the Rev. Jason McClure, who had spent much of the morning with the victims' families.

"They are very upset and hurting deeply and just trying to figure out what to do next," McClure said.

In a news release on the company's Web site, Atlantis Plastics said it is a leading U.S. manufacturer of three kinds of products:polyethylene stretch films for wrapping pallets of materials, custom films for industrial and packaging uses, and molded plastic pieces used in products such as appliances and recreational vehicles.

The company has annual sales of $110 million, according to business directory Hoovers.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Rachel on Jun 28, 2008 at 07:10 AM
    I think that the girlfriend should be charged with complicity or at least something for not calling the police or at least warning the company that he had that he was going to kill the supervisor.
  • by Me! Location: Ky on Jun 28, 2008 at 05:49 AM
    I also agree with Ron. When social services started taking kids away from homes because they got their tails busted, thats when the society started sliding downhill. When I was a child, you got paddled at school and when you got home you got Daddy's belt across your behind for getting in trouble. You showed respect to elders and kept your mouth shut. These days kids are raised to think they are above everyone else and they are not held accountable for their own actions. They get a phone taken away. Thats not punishment. I don't think a child needs beat till they are bruised but whippings never hurt me at all.I had plenty of them. It taught me respect, self control and consequences of my actions.I raised my children with the same guidelines and they have all turned out great.One is a police officer and the other is a RN.They show respect and good character.
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Jun 27, 2008 at 12:17 PM
    Methinks Ron is the smartest man on this board. Keep preaching, my friend!
  • by Me! Location: Ky on Jun 27, 2008 at 05:38 AM
    When they ban hand guns that is only a start to our rights as US Citizens. I for one want to keep mine. I would never do something like this. But if an intruder is breaking down my door, I want to be able to protect myself and my family.The girlfriend had heard him sing this song before and from how I understand the story. He threatened to hurt himself. She probably didn't think he would do anything. Or maybe after he threatened to hurt himself she didn't care. I hate it for all the families affected by this tragedy.But guns do not kill people the idiots on the other end do.
  • by dont matter Location: dont matter on Jun 27, 2008 at 05:20 AM
    praying for the familys who was killed but its not the gun who did it if you ban guns from homes then you might as well tell all these nuts that has it in for the united states to come on we will not defined our selfs why didnt they have a guard with a dog who sniffs car trucks when comeing in to plants for guns and drugs all companys need that all companys need one but banning guns is not the answer a big x-ray like on I 75 to check cars trucks comeing in to plants it would be safe for you and me
  • by RS Location: Lexington on Jun 27, 2008 at 01:34 AM
    Here's a better point...if people in the plant were armed with concealed carry permits and gun then maybe one of them would have taken him out before he killed so many. Or probably even the thought of facing others with weapons would have made him think twice about doing it.
  • by charles Location: lost creek on Jun 26, 2008 at 10:09 PM
    dumas you will want to ban cars an bottles an sticks an sand rocks you are still very funny ill give you that but this is very sad for the familys of all of them my thoughts an prays go to all of them god bless
  • by USCITIZEN Location: PIKE on Jun 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM
    If a person has an intent to kill, they are going to do it with or without there being a ban on hand guns. The law abiding citizens would be the ones that would be hurt by such a ban. Were these factory workers from Mexico?
  • by mandi Location: lexington on Jun 26, 2008 at 07:47 AM
    To everyone talking about banning hand guns and guns in general, you can ban guns but then the people that would do these horrific acts would break the law and have a gun anyway. People use drugs that are illegal and people do drugs. Killing a person is illegal. The people who would kill will do it no matter what!!!
  • by Mike Location: Ohio on Jun 26, 2008 at 06:59 AM
    Yes England does ban the use of Handguns but I know many people who work in Law Enforcement in England and handgun crime does happen and is increasing! People can get handguns in England through illegal channels. Don't think it is all peachy over in England and it is only getting worse. In fact more and more English Police Officers are issued hand guns these days. Not all but the number is increasing. Again people will find a way to kill if they want to! You can not legislate sanity. As one person has already mentioned we give millions of people a lethal weapon every day, a car. You choose to use it however you wish until some one stops you. Banning guns is not the answer and it never will be the answer. I understand an assault gun restriction but for the most part I support the right to bear arms. People including Michale Moor think banning the gun will solve all the problem. It's a foolish Idea. We have moore people than the UK as well and way to many illegal ways to get guns.----

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