Former employee opens fire at Orlando office
Fri, 06 Nov 2009 18:29:59 GMT —
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A gunman opened fire Friday in the offices of an engineering firm where he was let go more than two years ago. At least six people were hurt and police were searching for a gunman in a sport utility vehicle.
People streamed out of the 16-story Legion Place office building around lunchtime and some told local television stations they had barricaded themselves inside their offices.
Orlando Fire Department District Chief Michael Droege said an unknown number of people were still in the building and could be injured. He said the SWAT team was trying to pull people out.
"The building is not secure now," he said. "It's still unfolding."
Orlando police spokeswoman Barbara Jones identified the gunman as Jason Rodriguez, 40, and said he might be in a 2002 silver Nissan SUV with license plate D119UX. She said he used to work at the building but did not say where or when he left.
"I would consider him armed and dangerous," Jones said. She said at least five people were taken to a hospital and another had chest pains but did not go to the hospital. Orlando Regional Medical Center said four people were being treated in the emergency department.
She confirmed witnesses told police the shooting started at Reynolds Smith & Hill, a transportation engineering consulting firm in the building.
Company spokesman Mike Bernof told CNN all the people shot were in the firm's office. He could not say if any died.
Rodriguez, an engineer, was released in June 2007 for performance issues, Bernof said. He could not say why. The firm performs transportation engineering work with the Florida Department of Transportation.
Gerry Gilgo, who works on the floor where the shooting occurred, told The Associated Press she was meeting a co-worker at the elevators for lunch.
"She yelled, 'There are gunshots! There are gunshots! Get back in your office,"' Gilgo said.
Will Halpern, an attorney works on the building's 17th floor, was among the last group to be evacuated. He said the lobby was filled with about 20 officers in SWAT gear, carrying assault weapons, ready to search.
Interstate 4 was closed in both directions through downtown and nearby schools were locked down.
Rows of ambulances lined up outside the building as police snipers took up positions around the building and officers on foot and horseback searched the area.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)