Disgruntled worker fatally shoots 2, wounds 3 at linen company near Philadelphia

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — A disgruntled employee opened fire at a linen company near Philadelphia on Wednesday, killing two coworkers and injuring three others, authorities said.

The shooting took place at the Delaware County Linen at about 8:30 a.m. in the city of Chester, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Philadelphia. The shooter fled in a vehicle but was soon captured in a traffic stop, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said. The shooter's name has not been released, and the specific motive remains unknown. Earlier statements said he was a former employee.

“It speaks to guns in America,” said Chester Mayor Stefan Roots, who said his small city has enjoyed a period of relative calm in recent years, with violent crime on the decline. “Violence is always unpredictable. We don’t know what conditions people are under, in a city that’s impoverished like ours."

Roots called on state lawmakers in Pennsylvania to address the gun crisis, especially as it relates to people with mental health problems.

"We can't have guns in the hands of the wrong people,” Roots said. “There had to be some type of mental health issue that would have an employee walk into his workplace on a day of work and take out his anger in such a violent way — to not just the boss, but his coworkers, who he probably worked side-by-side with for years.”

Three people remained hospitalized, at least one in critical condition, police said.

The business had been in the community for more than 30 years, and some workers lived near enough to walk to work each day, residents said. Some of the workers on hand when the gunman opened fire gathered on the steps of a church across the street, behind barriers erected by police. One had a bandage visible on his hand.

“It's always quiet around here. We don’t have too many issues, so this is surprising,” said Doneshia Johnson, who lives next door to the linen company and was standing outside with her 1-year-old grandson. She said she was out at the time of the shooting.

“You never know. It's why you got to wake up, say your prayers, and just hope that you make it home safely each day," she said.

___ Associated Press staff writers Maryclaire Dale in Chester and Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey, contributed to this report.