ST. LOUIS — Donations from a fund set up to help survivors of three people killed in a St. Louis workplace shooting will be shared with the family of the gunman, who also killed himself, a spokesman for the foundation handling the fund said.
Word that assailant Timothy Hendron's family might get an equal share of the payouts so far totaling nearly $68,000 apparently isn't sitting well with the Webster Groves man's former co-workers at the transformer-making ABB Inc. plant where he opened fired Jan. 7.
"A lot of ABB employees are upset about it," said Adrienne Wilson, whose 27-year-old brother, Cory Wilson of Collinsville, Ill., died in the attack. She said she learned of the discontent about the payouts to Hendron's family from an uncle who still works for the company.
Adrienne Wilson, 29, of Nashville, Ill., first thought the gesture "was a punch in the gut," then reconciled that "it's not (Hendron's family's fault) he went berserk and crazy."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that money from the fund, set up just days after the gunfire, will be distributed at the end of this month by the nonprofit, 5-year-old ABB Foundation.
The foundation's spokesman, Barry Dillon, says Hendron's family will get some of the fund because they are "innocent victims in this and they have an extra burden."
"If we excluded them, there probably would have been folks who criticized that as well," Dillon said. "I guess the point is, no matter what payment plan you came up with, there are people who don't like it."
"It's tragic for everybody," added Dillon, who said he has already heard complaints about the payouts, including from relatives of an unspecified victim. "There are no winners in this."
Five people wounded in the attack will not get a share.
Dillon said a volunteer panel of ABB executives and managers met to discuss how the money would be distributed and, "considered all payment schemes and this is what they decided," Dillon said.
Authorities have never determined a motive for the shooting, which authorities say Hendron carried out with an assault rifle, shotgun and two pistols. Hendron, 51, had worked at the plant for 30 years and was part of a class-action lawsuit against ABB over pension plan fees.
He killed Wilson along with Carlton J. Carter, 57, of St. Louis, and Terry Mabry Sr., 55, of Moscow Mills before killing himself.
Bob Fesmire, an ABB Inc. spokesman, said life insurance death benefits have all been paid to the victims' families or are in the process of being paid, and the company still provides counseling to workers at the plant.
"You never completely get over something like this," he said.
The fund will accept contributions through September, with a small portion to be set aside to pay for a memorial at the plant.
Donations should be sent to Merrill Zaft, ABB Foundation, 501 Merritt 7, 6th Floor, Norwalk, CT 06851.