Myles Meyers, 54, of Toledo, took a female employee hostage before fatally shooting one worker, wounding two other workers and then shooting himself in the head, according to the Toledo Police Department. The female was not harmed.
Meyers, who had been a Jeep worker for 21 years, died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
Meyers returned from lunch with shotgun
A Jeep worker interviewed by The Toledo Blade said Meyers reported to work for the start of his shift Wednesday afternoon and returned from his lunch break with a shotgun.
After that, police say that Meyers, wielding the shotgun, walked into the office area of the body shop around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday and took a woman hostage, ordering her to call in a supervisor and another worker that he intended to shoot. Meyers smuggled the gun into the plant by concealing it under his coat with a homemade wire sling he had rigged to his body, according to police.
The woman contacted one of the men by radio, according to police. Before he arrived, though, another man walked into the office and Meyers turned the gun on him. The man, Roy Thacker, 50, of Oregon, died later. Thacker was a production advisor who had been a Jeep worker for 31 years, according to DaimlerChrysler.
After shooting two other workers, police say Meyers reloaded his shotgun and shot himself in the head.
Also wounded during the shooting spree were Mike Toney, 45, a production area manager and a 20-year Jeep employee; and Paul Medlin, 41, an hourly employee/team leader who was a 21-year Jeep worker. Medlin was in critical condition as of this morning, according to police.
Meyers, who was a second-shift employee in the plant's body shop, reportedly had been involved recently in an argument with a supervisor. DaimlerChrysler, however, says Meyers was not facing any disciplinary action.
Meyers had at least one prior offense on his criminal record -- an arrest for "dangerous drugs" this past December in Tecumseh, Mich., according to Toledo Police Capt. Ron Spann, chief of the detective bureau.
"We heard, 'He's got a gun.'"
Police and witness accounts in today's Toledo Blade describe a chaotic scene at the DaimlerChrysler plant, which produces the Jeep Liberty and is part of a complex that employs 3,500 workers, according to a Chrysler Group spokesperson.
Co-worker Richard Wohlgamuth, a 33-year Jeep employee, reportedly was at lunch Wednesday night when he and other workers heard screams coming from their team leader's walkie-talkie.
"We heard, 'He's got a gun,'" Wohlgamuth told The Toledo Blade. "We waited a couple minutes. 'He shot somebody.'"
When police arrived, they found workers fleeing the plant, and Chief Mike Navarre told The Blade it wasn't immediately clear who the shooter was.
"It was pretty chaotic for the first 20 to 25 minutes," Navarre said. "The problem was we thought we still had an active shooter. We didn't know that he was already dead."
The Blade reported that several hundred employees were in the plant while the shootings took place, although all workers who hadn't yet evacuated were sent home after police secured the facility.
All three Toledo Jeep plants closed today
There will be no production today at any of the Toledo Jeep assemblies, including the Toledo North, Parkway and Stickney locations, according to DaimlerChrysler.
DaimlerChrysler earlier today issued a news release saying, "our employees are our most important resource and their safety is our highest priority."
"What happened last night in Toledo is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families of those involved," the news release says. "We share in their losses and their grief."
Counseling is available at the Toledo Jeep plant "for as long as necessary," according to DaimlerChrysler. The company encourages Toledo Jeep employees to come into the plant to meet with grief counselors.