Woman executed co-workers, police say
Feud preceded factory attack in Pa.; 2 dead
PHILADELPHIA — A
Yvonne Hiller, 43, had gotten into an argument Thursday evening with her co-workers at the northeast Philadelphia plant, police said. After she was disciplined, she went to her vehicle, made several phone calls, and then grabbed the gun and used it to force her way past security guards at the front gate, police said.
About 100 people were at work at the plant, which makes Nabisco cookies and crackers.
The suspect walked to the third-floor mixing area and found four people in the break room. She had no quarrels with one woman and told her to leave. She then opened fire on the others, Philadelphia Homicide Captain James Clark said.
“She believed they were spraying chemicals at her, saying things behind her back,’’ Clark said.
After leaving the break room, Hiller went down a hallway and fired shots at the supervisor who had suspended her and at a mechanic who was using a walkie-talkie to alert police and co-workers to her whereabouts, police said. She missed both.
Hiller went to a second-floor office and called police to tell them what she had done, authorities said. Seven other workers were hiding in a closet nearby.
When tactical police found her, Hiller was in a fetal position on the floor, the gun beside her.
Police officials called the mechanic a hero who “did a phenomenal job’’ in alerting employees to evacuate the building and directing officers to where Hiller was.
“By following the suspect at great peril to himself — and we can see that by the fact that he was shot at and almost hit — he reduced our tactical problem quite dramatically,’’ Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan said.
Police identified the victims as Tanya Renee Wilson, 47; LaTonya Sharon Brown, 36; and Bryant A. Dalton; 39, all of Philadelphia. Wilson and Brown died at the plant.
Dalton, shot in the neck, remained in intensive care yesterday at Jefferson University Hospital, police said.
The plant will remain closed indefinitely, Kraft said.
Hiller has worked for Kraft for about 15 years and had been in repeated arguments there in the past several years, a few of them physical, Clark said.
Yet a next-door neighbor, Catherine Hillgen, described Hiller as a quiet woman who kept to herself but said she was polite and exchanged pleasantries when they saw each other.
Kraft, based in Northfield, Ill., also makes Oreo cookies, Philadelphia cream cheese, Oscar Mayer bacon, and other products.
Mass shootings are rarely carried out by women, said Dr. Park Dietz, president of Threat Assessment Group Inc., a violence prevention firm based in Newport Beach, Calif.
Earlier this year, Amy Bishop, a former resident of Braintree, Mass., and a former instructor and researcher at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus, was charged with murder in a campus shooting spree that killed three biology professors.