SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 AT 12:32 PM
A fatal stabbing of a worker Thursday morning at Chrysler Group LLC’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant prompted a lockdown and suspension of production.
A Chrysler worker said a male co-worker, Jeff Hunter, stabbed and slit the throat of another co-worker, Keith Readus, inside the plant. One witness said Readus walked up to Hunter, whispered something into his ear and then Hunter stabbed him before jumping on a bloody forklift.
The stabbing suspect was found dead shortly later on Belle Isle in a red Jeep Wrangler with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Detroit Police Sgt. Alan Quinn said.
Chrysler employee Louis McSwain said he saw Readus on the ground before being carted into the back of an ambulance.
“The EMS showed up, and they put him in the truck,” McSwain said. “Both sat in front so I could tell he didn’t make it.”
McSwain said he worked with Readus for at least five years at the plant.
“He was a quiet, friendly guy,” said McSwain, who’s worked for 18 years at the North plant. “When he was steward, he would always give people advice.”
UAW Local 889 President Tom Brenner said the plant went on lockdown after the stabbing, which occurred at about 7:55 a.m. Thursday.
“We don’t have too much information at this point,” he said about 10 a.m.
Witnesses said the stabbing happened around first break at about 8 a.m. Chrysler let that shift leave for the day, five workers at a time.
Workers said Hunter had been previously fired for fighting inside the plant but had regained employment there.
UAW Local 7 represents the hourly workers, Local 412, the engineers and 889 represents office and clerical workers at the plant.
Chrysler Group released a statement a few hours after the fatal stabbing.
“Chrysler Group is deeply saddened by events that occurred at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant this morning. Two employees were involved in an altercation inside the plant. One employee was stabbed and unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.
“The Detroit Police Department is currently investigating. Production has been suspended for this morning and employees are being released.”
In a released statement, the UAW also expressed its “deepest sympathy to the families of our members involved in the tragic incident today at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant. Although many details are unknown at this time, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life.”
The 3 million-square-foot Jefferson North plant, at 2101 Connor St., built its first vehicle in 1992. It currently builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
It employs 3,075 workers (2,912 hourly and 163 salaried workers) on two shifts. Hourly workers are represented by UAW Locals 7, 412 and 889.
In January, Chrysler said it would add a third crew, or 1,100 jobs, in the first quarter of 2013, and in April said it would add new jobs in November.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
his primary challenge = JH = 18 = Surreal. Madman. Horrific. This is crazy.
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