Coping With Tragedy

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Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 4:40pm

California company provides grief counseling after fatal shooting spree.

Grief-stricken employees gathered Wednesday to cope with Tuesday's tragic shooting inside Fresno, California's Valley Protein.

"The general feeling is just that they were confused on why it might have happened. Nobody knows why it happened, there were no arguments pursued," said Valley Protein President, Bob Coyle.

The plant was closed for business while management tried to pick up the pieces.

Grief counselors were on hand to help workers cope with yesterday's fatal shooting.

"I think they just wanted some reassurance that things are gonna be okay, and we're working hard to make sure they are," said Coyle.

42-year-old Lawrence Jones snapped during his normal shift at the plant.

Police say he methodically shot four co-workers and then took his own life.

Salavador Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Manuel Verdin later died at the hospital.

Arnulfo Connriquez remains in critical condition.

Company officials say two of the victims were hired just last Wednesday.

"A lot of the other employees spoke out nicely about all the employees that were shot and both injured and that nobody ever did anything to provoke anything," Coyle said.

Jones was an man with a criminal past dating back to 1988.

In 1996 he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for felony robbery and carrying a firearm.

In 2002 he was charged with vehicle theft and a felony DUI.

The parolee was hired through an employment agency 14 months ago.

The company was aware of his history.

"We knew it wasn't a violent criminal past and that's one thing that we don't accept is someone with a violent criminal past, so that's the big difference. We try to give people another chance at life," Valley Protein's Michelle Coyle said.

Plant officials and employees will now remember the lives lost as they try to move on.

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