ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – Police say an employee at a water distribution plant opened fire on coworkers early Tuesday, killing two and injuring two before taking his own life.
Michael Lee Dobbins and David Lee Horton, both of Boaz, Alabama, died in the shooting at Mueller Co., around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith. The shooter was later identified as Andreas Deon Horton, 34, of Dekalb County.
Smith said there is no known familial relation between the Hortons and that they had “no ties” other than working at the same place.
The two wounded employees were taken to a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Police have not determined a motive.
The shooter used a handgun to fire an unknown number of rounds at his co-workers before fleeing in a maroon Jeep Cherokee, Smith said. The gunman was later found dead in the vehicle from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in Guntersville, about 15 miles away from the factory.
Multiple weapons were recovered from the vehicle, Smith said.
Albertville, in northern Alabama, is the largest city in Marshall County, about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham. More than 400 people work at the Mueller Co. plant, which makes water distribution and measurement products, giving the city its nickname, “Fire Hydrant Capital of the World.”
Albertville Mayor Tracy Honea called Mueller “an integral part of the lifeblood and workforce” of Albertville for almost 50 years and offered her condolences to the families of victims.
“They are dedicated, important partners of this community and we hurt with them today,” she said in a statement.
“Our entire focus is on the health and well-being of our colleagues, and we are committed to providing any and all support to them and their families,” Mueller Co. said in a statement.
Mueller employee Cody Windsor said he was home at the time of the shooting, but knew the shooter and one of the victims, David Horton. He said he didn’t know what may have motivated the shooting.
Windsor said David Horton was a foundry helper who could do almost any job at the plant. Windsor remembered David Horton as quiet, but said they often hung out together during lunch breaks and sat in their cars listening to music.
“We work together and we bond together,” Windsor said. “We’re here as much as we are at home.”
Allen Horton Jr. told AL.com that he was in shock after learning that his uncle, David Horton, had died.
“I don’t know how to take it,” he told the website.
Ann Walters, grandmother of Dobbins, told AL.com that her grandson had worked at Mueller for about 10 months and was father to a 2-year-old daughter. Walters said he was saving to buy a home and a car for his girlfriend.
“He was a perfect gentleman, everybody will tell you,” Walters told the website. “He was good to everybody and put his family first.”
Mueller Co., based in Cleveland, Tennessee, is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Mueller Water Products Inc. The company’s plant in Aurora, Illinois, was the site of a mass shooting in February 2009, when five people were killed by an employee who was going to be fired.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Reach Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at [email protected]