January 7, 2010 / 3:37 PM / 10 years ago

Four dead in Missouri ABB factory shooting

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - An assembly line worker armed with a rifle who had a pending lawsuit against electrical products company ABB Power killed three co-workers and wounded five others on Thursday before killing himself, police said.

In a chaotic scene at ABB Power, a unit of Swiss-based ABB Ltd, one wounded worker telephoned police from an office and others hid in closets or on the roof awaiting rescue while the gunman was still on the loose.

Three of the wounded were in critical condition.

Police shut down a local highway for a few hours out of concern the suspect had escaped through a back door.

ABB Ltd is based in Zurich, and has 120,000 employees making electrical equipment in facilities around the world. The St. Louis plant makes electrical transformers.

“The welfare of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” the company in Zurich said in a statement.

Some 50 workers were present at the facility during the early morning assault, out of 270 employed there.

Police identified the gunman as assembly line worker Timothy Hendron, 51.

One neighbor said Hendron was a hunter and owned guns.

“He mentioned a few times that he was not happy where he was working,” said Glenn Meyer, another neighbor of Hendron’s.

“He had said that he was considering legal action, but there was never any indication that any serious trouble was coming. He was a nice, gentle guy. It’s just unbelievable that he would do this,” Meyer said.

A motive was not immediately clear but Hendron was one of four named plaintiffs in a class-action federal lawsuit that accused ABB of allowing mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments to steer their retirement accounts into funds that charged “unreasonable and excessive” fees.

The retirement plan had $1.47 billion in assets.

The case went to trial in Kansas City earlier this week.

Reporting by Andrew Stern and Svea Herbst, editing by Todd Eastham

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