Jennifer Hollis had the sort of outgoing personality that makes a good telemarketer. At age 17 she had already risen to management level at Micropure Inc., where she worked after school.
Jim Disney, 19, “was the kind of kid who could relate to anybody,” his boss at the company said.
Both young lives were cut short Friday night when a security guard known to everyone at Micropure as “Pete,” who used to join employees for pizza and beer during their breaks, inexplicably began shooting. His bullets killed the two teen-agers and wounded at least five others, authorities said.
Micropure workers gathered Saturday in a nearby office to relive the horrifying events of the previous night, and to comfort each other. They had no explanation of why the suspected killer, Sebron Flenaugh Jr., went on the rampage.
“We treated him real good,” said Brian Sellers. Said co-owner Mark Foletta, “It would not be considered abnormal at all for him to walk in and have a cup of coffee.”
Employees at the company were on a break when the 6-foot, 2-inch, 310-pound Flenaugh entered the office at about 6:35 p.m. Friday. Police said some employees reported hearing him mutter complaints about his “crummy job” before he began shooting, apparently taking deliberate aim at his victims and pausing between each shot. “He just came in the door and fired the first shot, the second shot, the third shot. That’s when I hit the floor,” said Geoff Duncan. “I was in shock. I crawled to the door. He was still firing when we got out.” He remembered seeing Flenaugh making his rounds about an hour earlier.
Sequence of Attacks
Flenaugh, 45, shot three people in the loading area near the back door, walked into the office area, shot two more people in the break room, then another in an adjacent office, police said. He then holstered his gun and walked out.
“She was such an outgoing, friendly, happy, beautiful girl. Such a waste,” co-owner Kathy Foletta, choking back tears, said of Jennifer. “Jimmy was a bright kid, he played in a band.” Both had been with the company only a few months, and both were well liked by their colleagues.
“Jim was just laying there in a pool of blood . . . saying ‘I’m too young to die,’ ” said Ellen Pearce, who gave first aid to another worker.
Jimmy, of Antioch, died Saturday morning after surgery for stomach wounds. Jennifer, who lived in Martinez, died in surgery late Friday.
About 21 of the company’s 45 employees, who sell household water purifying kits over the telephone, were working at the time. Many ran into the parking lot and hid in bushes outside the building. One man blocked off the door to a telephone room containing five women until the shooting stopped, Ellen Pearce recalled.
“My first thought was ‘pop, pop, pop,’ the phoners are teen-agers, they’re playing with firecrackers. It’s that time of year. It just didn’t dawn on us this could be happening,” said Mark Foletta. He and his wife Kathy threw themselves into some bushes after running outside. They saw Flenaugh speed away in his burgundy 1978 Cadillac.
Police found Flenaugh’s car parked outside the home in Oakland where he has lived with his half-sister since their mother died in October. They arrested him without incident at 9:12 p.m., recovering a .357 Magnum.
A news reporter beat the police to the suspect’s house, and found himself invited in. Ken O’Toole wrote in Saturday’s San Francisco Examiner that “for a few nerve-wracking minutes (I) thought I might be his next victim.” O’Toole managed to leave safely after calling his editor, who called the Oakland police.
Flenaugh worked for Oakland-based Wells Security Services. Company officials were not available for comment, but police said he was assigned to the industrial park in Concord, about 30 miles east of San Francisco, as an unarmed guard. Micropure employees said they had seen him for about a year.
Police have not released detailed information about Flenaugh. Relatives described him as quiet and not quick tempered, and said he has never had serious trouble with the law.
“He was quiet, peaceful,” said the suspect’s younger brother, Eugene, by telephone from Austin, Tex. “Whatever it was that set him off, it was over a period of time, because he was not easily riled.”
His father, Sebron Sr., agreed. “I didn’t think that could have happened with him. He was quiet. I didn’t ever know him to get into trouble,” he said from his home in El Paso. He last saw his son at his ex-wife’s funeral in October.
Flenaugh, an Air Force veteran discharged in 1966, took his mother’s death hard, as any son would, his brother said. He was married for a short time and divorced about four years ago, he added.
Saturday, one victim, 27-year-old Robert Webster of Concord, was in intensive care at Mt. Diablo Hospital in fair condition after four hours of surgery to remove his spleen.
Angela Tewell, 22, of Pittsburg, was in serious condition. She was shot in the right shoulder as she tried to flee the gunman. Paul Bleichrodt, 35, of Pleasant Hill, underwent surgery for a hip wound, a hospital spokesman said.
A sixth person, Jane Richardson, 26, of Antioch, is recovering from superficial back wounds at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, where both teen-agers died, a spokeswoman there reported. Another woman was treated by paramedics at the scene for a grazing bullet wound to her calf.
A worker at another company in the industrial park said Flenaugh looked into her company’s office moments before the shooting. “Thank God, he didn’t see me,” said Lisa Grimmett.