Fired Employee Kills Six in Chicago Warehouse

Aug. 28, 2003
Most of the employees of at Chicago warehouse that stocked used car parts are dead today, killed by a former coworker with a grudge.

Salvador Tapia was fired from his job at Windy City Core Supply six months ago for absenteeism and poor job performance. He continued to make threatening phone calls to the company owners, say police, and yesterday morning, he made good on his threats.

Tapia was no stranger to police: he had been arrested for domestic violence, gun possession and driving offenses, but never served time in jail. He won't serve time in jail this time, either.

Police say Tapia shot and killed six of the company's nine employees. A seventh employee, tied up by Tapia, was able to free himself and call police.

At a news conference following the shootings, Acting Police Superintendent Philip Cline remembered, "We made a phone call; there was no answer inside. Because these people had been shot, we decided to make an assault, not to negotiate." Police officers stormed the building, eventually killing Tapia in an exchange of gunfire.

Conditions at the warehouse made it an easy task for Tapia to kill his former coworkers, Cline commented. He said there's really only one entrance and exit to the building. "Once he's inside and by that front door, he's got them cornered," Cline admitted.

Two employees who were inside the building at the time of the killings escaped, along with the company president, who was taking his daughter to school.

Police said Tapia apparently walked through the warehouse and killed employees as he found them. The victims were not found in one place, said Cline.

The shooting victims included Alan and Howard Weiner, brothers who were officers of the company; Howard's son Daniel; and employees Calvin Ramsey, Robert Taylor and Juan Valles. Taylor worked at the company for over 20 years, said his sister, Minnie Taylor. "He went to work every day," she said. "He was just doing his job and look what it got him."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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