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Suspect in chicken plant shooting a parolee, 'extensive' history

November 6, 2012 | 11:27 am

Police tape blocks off the area surrounding a Central Fresno chicken processing plant, where police said an employee opened fire on Tuesday morning, killing one coworker and wounding three others before shooting himself. Credit: Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times

The employee suspected of opening fire at a Fresno processing plant on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding three others before turning the gun on himself, was described by police as a "discharged parolee" with an "extensive criminal history."

The suspect, identified as Lawrence Jones, 42, was found outside the Apply Valley Farms plant with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. He was taken to an area hospital in critical condition.

Jones' criminal background was not immediately known, although Dyer said it stretched into the 1990s.

Jones clocked in to work shortly before 5 a.m. and at about 8:30 "pulled out a handgun and began opening fire" near a cold storage section of the building, Dyer said. Police went to the central Fresno plant after several employees called 911.

Officers found four victims: a 32-year-old woman who had been shot in the lower back, a 34-year-old man shot in the head, a 28-year-old man shot in the neck and a 32-year-old man, also shot in the head.

The 32-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, Dyer said. The male victims were in critical condition at local hospitals; the woman was in serious condition but was expected to survive.

Officers found a gun next to Jones, Dyer said. Police were searching his Fresno home to ensure there were no other victims.

Dyer said investigators still weren't sure what prompted the suspect, who had worked at the plant for about 14 months, to open fire. A coworker told police Jones "did not appear himself when he came into work," he added.

"There was something that must have provoked this incident," Dyer said.

No one answered a telephone number listed for Apple Valley Farms Inc. All calls instead went to an answering machine.

"Unfortunately, due to an emergency we are closed for the day," the message read.

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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

Photo: Police tape blocks off the area surrounding a Central Fresno chicken processing plant, where police said an employee opened fire on Tuesday morning, killing one coworker and wounding three others before shooting himself. Credit: Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times

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