Sixth dies in plant shooting

Sunday, July 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:55 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A sixth person shot in a rampage at a meatpacking plant died Saturday, and investigators said they still have not determined the gunman’s motive.

Authorities identified the shooter as Elijah Brown, 21, of Kansas City, Kan., who was hired at the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in September 2003, laid off because of production downturns, and then called back to work a few months ago.

Five people died at the plant Friday, including Brown, who killed himself. The sixth died overnight at a Kansas City, Kan., hospital, police said.

Police Chief Ron Miller identified the victims as Lonnie Ellingburg, 46; Travis Nelson, 23; and Leonardo Rodriguez, 49; Ardell L. Edwards, 55, the worker who died overnight, all of Kansas City, Kan.; and a Mexican national, 45, who was not identified pending notification of his family.

Ellingburg, Nelson and Edwards are all related, police said.

Two workers were wounded. The attack happened around 5 p.m., shortly after an employee meeting, which Brown attended, Miller said. The plant workers were on break when the 10-minute rampage began. More than one weapon was used, Deputy Police Chief Sam Breshears said.

Plant employee Andre Porter, who encountered the gunman right after hearing the first shot, said the shooter had a conflict with some of the workers earlier in the week, but did not describe the conflict.

Porter, 38, of Atchison, said he was in the men’s locker room when he heard a shot. He said he then saw the shooter and asked, “What are you doing ... shooting fireworks?”

He said the gunman glanced at him, then sprinted out of the locker room. Porter said that was when he noticed the man was carrying a handgun and saw a co-worker lying motionless in the hallway. Shortly after, he heard 10 to 12 shots fired rapidly in the nearby cafeteria.

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