An angry former employee of an Anne Arundel County business walked into his old office yesterday and shot two people, including the man who had fired him, county police said.
The assailant then walked out of H&M Wagner and Sons restaurant supply firm in Glen Burnie and shot and killed himself, police said.
The company supervisors who were wounded were identified as Raymond R. Himes Jr., 37, of Baltimore, and Jack N. Helms, 49, of Pasadena. Neither suffered life-threatening wounds, police said. Both were in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said.
The former employee, described as a driver by George Wagner, the company's owner, was identified by police as Joseph Allen Cobb, 54, of Dublin Drive in Point Pleasant.
Police said it appeared that Helms was Cobb's former supervisor and had discharged him several weeks ago. Neither police nor Wagner gave the reason for the termination. Wagner said Cobb worked there for about four years.
Police released this account:
Cobb went into the H&M Wagner offices at 7204 May Wagner Lane about 2:20 p.m. Upon entering, he confronted Himes, who was described by authorities as a manager or supervisor.
After shouting a profanity at Himes, Cobb fired a single shot from a .38-caliber handgun. Himes was struck once, in the left arm. Then Cobb walked down a hallway and entered Helms's office. He fired three times, hitting Helms twice in the stomach.
Afterward, Cobb walked out and, standing just outside the business, fired a bullet into his head.
No one else was shot.
An assistant sales manager who was nearby when the former employee entered told a reporter last night that she heard gunshots fired in rapid succession.
Cindy Matuszewski said she "thought it was balloons popping." When she went to look, she said, she saw someone in a struggle with the former employee.
She said she "turned around and dialed 911."
The two employees were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, police said.
Cobb also was taken there. He was pronounced dead at 5 p.m., police said.
"Thankfully, they're going to be okay," Wagner said of the two wounded employees in an interview last night.
"This is a tragedy, especially on a holiday," he said. "My concern is for the two employees and their families."
The incident appeared to highlight the issue of workplace violence, which began to attract national attention about 20 years ago. It has become a major concern for advocates of worker safety.
H&M Wagner has been in business since 1963. It started by delivering poultry and eggs in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County and has grown to provide about 8,000 items, according to the company's Web site. It employs about 175 people. May Wagner Lane, on which the company warehouse is located, is named for one of the firm's founders. The warehouse is just east of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and about 30 miles northeast of the District.
Staff writer Daniel de Vise contributed to this report.