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Shooting Leaves Employee, Gunman Dead

January 2004
VISALIA, CA—A former employee with Mail-Well company PrintXcel let himself through a side door at the facility December 9 and fired off at least a half-dozen shots, killing one employee and setting two small fires before taking his own life.

The body of gunman John Gardner, 45, was found near an exit, according to the Associated Press, along with a revolver and semi-automatic handgun. Gardner, who left the company in 1999, had shot himself in the head.

Prior to taking his own life, Gardner gunned down 31-year-old Jose Manriquez, according to the AP. Manriquez, who had become the father of a baby boy less than two weeks prior to the shooting, was among 46 of the company's 89 employees on duty that day.

Also on duty was plant general manager Jeff Trump, who helped escort out employees before returning to his office to call 911, the AP reported. Gardner burst into Trump's office, where the GM dove under his desk and hid. Trump watched as Gardner poured solvent on the floor and lit it with a match.

"He apparently couldn't see me because I would have been a target," Gardner told the AP. "All I could see was his hands."

Gardner also ignited a roll of paper, but neither fire caused significant damage. Police are still investigating the incident.
 

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