A man whose car had been repossessed methodically gunned down customers and employees at a GM financing agency today, killing seven people and critically wounding six others before committing suicide, police said.
"He just started walking through the building and shooting," Jacksonville Sheriff James McMillan said.
The gunman used a .30-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a .38-caliber revolver in the shootings, and may be connected with two other weekend shootings using the same kind of rifle, authorities said. Police identified him as James Edward Pough, 42, of Jacksonville.
"It's just a terrible, terrible, senseless thing," McMillan said.
The shootings occurred inside the General Motors Acceptance Corp. building at the Baymeadows Office Park just before 11 a.m., said Jacksonville police Sgt. Steve Weintraub. GMAC is the car-financing arm of the General Motors Corp. McMillan said the man's car had been repossessed.
The sheriff said the man went up to the counter, shot a customer and then began walking through the office shooting his weapons. Most of the shots apparently came from the rifle, McMillan said.
Richard Langille, a GMAC employee, said employees dived beneath their desks as soon as they heard gunfire.
"And then we realized the guy was pointing his gun underneath people's desks and killing them one by one," Langille said. "I just saw the bottom of the carpet and just prayed."
Five employees and another customer, along with the gunman, died at the scene, said John Andrews, a spokesman for GMAC in Detroit. McMillan said an eighth person--a GMAC employee whose husband was a police officer--died shortly after being taken to a hospital.
The gunman killed himself at the end of the shootings, the sheriff said.
The wounded were airlifted or taken by ambulance to two local hospitals, University Hospital and Baptist Medical Center, where they were all described as in critical condition.
Jay Edelberg of Baptist Medical Center said the three wounded brought there had been shot repeatedly.
One man had gunshot wounds in his chest and abdomen and was in surgery, Edelberg said. A woman, also in surgery, was shot in the chest.
"The third one, who is the most stable, probably had the worst injuries because she got hit about seven times, hitting her arms, her legs, shattering bones and severing nerves and arteries," Edelberg said.
Vince Scolaro, a spokesman for University Hospital, said the facility had three patients from the shooting, all in the trauma center. They, too, were in critical condition.
The massacre was the worst since Sept. 14, 1989, when Joseph T. Wesbecker, a 47-year-old pressman on disability for mental illness, fatally shot eight people and wounded 12 others at a printing plant in Louisville, Ky., before taking his own life.