JACKSONVILLE, FLA., JUNE 19 -- The man who shot his way through a crowded office here Monday had begun his murderous spree in his own neighborhood over the weekend, killing a pimp and a prostitute and wounding two teenagers, police reported today.
Before turning a .38-caliber revolver on himself in the office of an auto-financing company that had repossessed his car, James E. Pough shot 17 people, 10 of them fatally, with a rifle, police said.
"The violence continues," Duval County Sheriff James McMillan said today in announcing the additional victims.
McMillan also played excerpts from the 911 emergency-telephone tape, on which rapid-fire shots could be heard over a plea for help from a female worker at General Motors Acceptance Corp.
Eight people died, and five others were critically injured when Pough (pronounced Pew) walked in the front door of the building Monday morning and began firing.
Police confirmed today that the same rifle, held by a man matching Pough's description, was used in the shooting deaths of the prostitute and her pimp in a rundown neighborhood north of downtown early Sunday morning.
A few blocks away, the youths, ages 17 and 18, were shot by a man who stopped his car and asked for directions. The two, recovering from shoulder wounds, identified Pough as their attacker when they saw his picture on television after his rampage Monday, police said.
Numerous calls on the 911 tape illustrated the victims' terror as Pough moved about the office, poking a .30-caliber Universal semiautomatic rifle under desks and shooting some of the victims five to seven times. Various callers described the weapon as a semiautomatic, and one incorrectly called it an AK-47.
"There's a man in our office with a gun," a man's voice rasped on the 911 tape. "He has fired at several people."
Asked for details, the man dropped his voice, whispering, "It's a semiautomatic, definitely. He's still shooting. Yes. . . . We're being killed. He's a black male with an AK-47, and he's killing everybody."
Police said Pough, 42, a laborer, had a lengthy record of arrests on various charges, including attempted murder in 1971.
They are still trying to determine how and when Pough assembled the arsenal used on his binge. Police have found three weapons: the .30-caliber rifle used on the prostitute, the pimp and the 13 GMAC victims; the .38-caliber revolver used to kill himself, and a 9mm semiautomatic machine pistol found in the trunk of his 13-year-old Buick.
Police said records indicate that a .357 Magnum revolver and another .38-caliber revolver also are registered to Pough but were not found. When police went to his apartment Monday, they saw that it had been ransacked.
"This was not your typical assault rifle, but how many messages do we have to send to the Congress, how many messages do we have to send to the state legislature?" Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Hazouri asked.
Under federal law, Pough was ineligible to own a handgun because he pleaded guilty to a felony, aggravated assault, in the 1971 case. But, under Florida law, he could own a gun because the judge who handled his case withheld adjudication of guilt, meaning that the felony was erased from his record because he successfully completed his five-year probation.
Before that, Pough had been arrested three times for violent behavior -- twice in 1966 for attempted robbery and attempted murder, and once in 1968 for displaying a knife in a threatening manner.
Since 1971, Pough's troubles were mostly financial. In 1977, the General Finance Corp., which had lent him $919 two years earlier, won a judgment when he fell behind on the monthly payment of $225. The same year, Main Street Radiator here sued to obtain $302 that he owed in car repair bills.
Like a great many Americans who have snapped and started a shooting spree, Pough was liked by his neighbors, well-regarded at work and seemed to be living an ordinary life. In the search to attach reason to unreasonable acts, no one here has said Pough seemed different or had odd habits.
Instead, many echoed what Eugene Carr, who lived across the street from Pough, said: "He was a nice person. He was a good person."
Nathan D. Green, business agent at Pough's union, Laborer's Local 301, expressed shock, saying, "It was not the Pough I knew."
Pough was the sole tenant in a three-building set of rundown duplexes. He had lived in the upstairs apartment in the center building there for 10 years, neighbors said.
About a year ago, he was married. He worked out with weights and bet at the dog track. He had few visitors, never threw parties, did not appear to drink and seemed to work even on weekends.
Pough usually left for work about 6:30 a.m., with his hard hat, a cooler and a thermos, and returned home about 4 p.m. He was working in construction maintenance at an Anheuser-Busch brewery for a local firm and last May, received a 20-cent raise to $8.75 an hour.
In March, his wife obtained a court order prohibiting Pough from talking to her, writing, telephoning or visiting for a year. In her petition, Theresa Pough said he had thrown a glass at her and tried to hurt her.
To neighbors, Pough's last weekend seemed ordinary. The only thing different, Carr said, was that, when he went out on his porch at 6:30 a.m., Pough was already gone. Four hours later, Pough walked to the front door of GMAC, the company that had taken away his 1988 Pontiac.