police 147277 640

2 Dead, 3 Hospitalized in Pa. Workplace Shooting

23 May, 2024 Liz Carey

police 147277 640

Chester, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Two people were killed and another three were hospitalized yesterday in what police are calling a workplace shooting at the hands of a “disgruntled employee.”

Police in Chester, Pennsylvania said a suspect entered the Delaware County Linen facility and “took his anger” out on fellow employees.

Chester Mayor Stefan Roots said the victims included the employee’s supervisor. The victims and suspect had not been identified as of Wednesday night. The three injured employees were sent to a nearby hospital where one of them was listed in critical condition.

“It speaks to guns in America,” Roots said at a press conference. “Violence is always unpredictable. We don’t know what conditions people are under, in a city that’s impoverished like ours."

Roots called for legislation to address not only guns, but mental health assistance.

"We can't have guns in the hands of the wrong people,” Roots said. “There had to be some type of mental health issue that would have an employee walk into his workplace on a day of work and take out his anger in such a violent way — to not just the boss, but his coworkers, who he probably worked side-by-side with for years.”

Across the street from the press conference, at St. Hedwig’s church, employees and others waited for work on the condition of the victims. Roots said the business’s employees who witnessed the crime were in “shellshock.”

“Who have witnessed this, who have run from this, who now have to go home to their families today and more importantly can they come back to work tomorrow be productive and not feel affected by this,” Roots said. “My heart breaks.”

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said police entered the business and found wounded in a scene he described as horrible. Officers placed one victim in a laundry cart and pushed them out of the building as EMTs arrived to care for the wounded.

Local elected officials and businesses offered their support.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this unimaginable time,” Chester Councilman Fred Green said in a statement. “No words can adequately convey the depth of our grief, but we stand united in our support for those affected.”

Delaware County Chamber of Commerce President Trish McFarland offered her condolences as well, praising first responders and promising support to those affected.

“Our hearts ache for the victims and their families during this unimaginable time,” she said.

The company has been in business for more than 30 years, officials said. Two sisters who were newly employed at the linen company, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that their workday turned into a nightmare when the shooter entered the building.

The two women, Sandra Castro, 19, and Esthe Castro, 25, moved to the area from Guatemala, and found work at the linen company recently. On Wednesday morning, they said, they heard screams break out on the business’ work floor.

“They were screaming, ‘He's killing them! He's killing them!’” the younger sister told the paper.

She said she feared not only for her own life, but for that of her sister who was working at a washing machine separate from hers. Sandra Castro said she couldn’t see her sister in the chaos of the shooting, but they found each other after fleeing the building with their fellow employees.

“I kept looking for [Sandra],” Esthe Castor said. “I was just so happy when we found each other outside.”

Officials said the shooter was a current employee who had moved with his family to the area from Puerto Rico. Employees of the company told local news outlets that the gunman lived not far from the business and had been a recent hire.

After the shooting, the gunman fled but was apprehended quickly thereafter and arrested. Officials said he would likely be charged for multiple crimes, including murder, on Thursday. Prosecutors continue to investigate the shooting, and are attempting to locate the families of the victims. The motive for the shooting was unclear as of Wednesday night.

So far this year, the country has seen at least 168 mass shootings, or shootings in which four or more victims are shot, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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