A man looking for work opened fire at a temporary-employment agency today during an argument over a CD player, killing four fellow job-seekers and wounding a fifth, police said.
Emanuel Patterson, 23, surrendered after shooting at police during a standoff at his apartment, authorities said. He was not charged yesterday, but Madison County District Attorney Tim Morgan said capital murder charges are likely.
Patterson regularly went to the office of Labor Ready Inc. looking for work, police said. This morning, witnesses said as many as 15 people were there when some men allegedly fought with Patterson over CDs and money, then laughed at him and pushed him into a corner.
Patricia Johnson, 38, told the Huntsville Times that the gunman turned his weapon on her and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. She ran into a closet where three or four people were hiding.
Three people died in the office and a fourth died during surgery. Police said the wounded man was shot in the leg.
The dead were identified as Huntsville residents Billy Knox Sr., 61; his son, Billy Knox Jr., 22, and Benjamin Ferguson, 47; and David Seiler, 46, of Tennessee.
Labor Ready, based in Tacoma, Wash., describes itself as the nation's largest provider of temporary manual labor for light industry and small businesses.
The Labor Ready office is next to a building that houses law enforcement agencies, including state troopers and investigators for the Sheriff's Department.