Disgruntled ex-employee kills 5, then self in Orlando workplace shooting: Sheriff
A 45-year-old man shot and killed five people at his former workplace in an industrial area near Orlando Monday morning before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide, authorities said.
At a press conference later Monday, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the suspect worked for Fiamma Inc., an RV accessory company where the incident took place, until he was fired in April.
“He was a disgruntled employee that came back to this business this morning,” Demings told reporters, adding that there was no indication the shooter had any links to terrorism.
“This is likely a workplace violence incident. We will get more into the details of the investigation as it unfolds,” Demings said.
Demings identified the shooter as John Robert Neumann Jr., a white 45-year-old U.S. Army veteran who was discharged in 1999. He lived alone and has no family in the area, he said.
The names of the victims have not yet been released. Demings said they range in age from 35 to 70s.
The shooting occurred just one week before the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and 53 others were wounded. It was the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil.
Demings said that local law enforcement had responded to a workplace violence matter involving the same man at Fiamma in June 2014.
“He allegedly battered another employee here in the business,” he said. “There were no charges at that time.”
Demings said before Monday the suspect’s criminal history included only relatively minor incidents, such as possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and misdemeanor battery.
Sheriff: This violence is frustrating. The only way we have a fighting chance is to ask the public to report any suspicious activity.
— OCSO FL News (@OrangeCoSheriff) June 5, 2017
The suspect was also armed with a smaller knife and a large hunting knife during the shooting incident, Demings said, but there wasn’t immediately any indication that he used those weapons on the victims.
According to Demings, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call about the active shooter about 8:03 a.m. Monday and deputies arrived on the scene just two minutes later. They found three deceased male victims and one deceased female victim. A fifth victim, another male, was transported to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he also succumbed to his injuries, Demings said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is currently interviewing seven survivors who were in the building at the time of the shooting, Demings said.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs extended her sympathy and sorrow to the family and friends of the victims.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play itself in our community and other communities across the nation. And it is incumbent upon all of us not to become complacent,” she said.
Jacobs encouraged citizens to say something if they ever see anything suspicious or abnormal and commended the first responders and law enforcement for their swift actions.
“One thing we know about central Florida is that we have expert law enforcement, men and women,” Jacobs said. “And we have a community that cares and that has shown that compassion time and time again. The community I know will display that same compassion for the loved ones that have lost their loved ones here today.”
FBI Special Agent Ron Harper also expressed his thoughts and prayers for the victims’ loved ones and said the bureau stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the men and women of law enforcement in central Florida.
“Shortly after the call came in to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI responded in force, as we would in an active shooter situation,” he said. “We will remain with the sheriff’s office until our resources are no longer necessary to help them complete the investigation.”
Danny Banks, the Orlando special agent in charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, explained that it’s his department’s responsibility to determine whether these sorts of incidents are connected to terrorist groups.
“What I’ll tell you is — whether it’s a terrorist incident or not, which we do not believe it is — it’s still an incident of violence in our community. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this incident,” Banks said.
He credited the Orange County sheriff’s deputies who arrived on scene within minutes of the emergency call with saving the lives of the seven other people inside the Fiamma workplace. “I think that’s an important recognition that we give those deputies and the members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,” Banks said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement regarding the tragedy:
“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is processing the scene with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Authorities have set up a family reunification location down the road at Full Sail University. Demings said friends and family of the employees may call 407-679-0100, ext. 3087, to receive additional information.
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