MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A grocery store employee attacked eight co-workers with knives Friday, seriously injuring five before a witness pulled a gun and stopped him, police said.
The 21-year-old suspect, Elartrice Ingram, was arrested and taken to a hospital complaining of chest pains, Memphis Police Sgt. Vince Higgins said. The attack apparently stemmed from a work dispute, police said. Ingram was charged with nine counts of Criminal Attempt Felony to wit First Degree Murder.
Five victims, one in critical condition, were admitted to the Regional Medical Center, the main trauma hospital for the Memphis area. Three were less badly hurt and treated at another hospital.
The attacker, chasing one victim into the store's parking lot, was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, Higgins said.
Cope said he grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing the victim "like something in a serial killer movie."
"When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground," Cope told The Associated Press. "He saw my gun and that was pretty much it."
Police arrived within minutes and took the attacker into custody.
"He just kept saying, 'I'm insane. I wish I was never born' and that kind of stuff," Cope said.
The attack started in an employee area of the Schnucks supermarket on the outskirts of Memphis and no customers were involved, Higgins said.
Police said two large kitchen knives used in the attack were found at the scene.
Witness Frank Rector said the attacker held a knife high in a stabbing position as he chased a victim into the parking lot. The victim, Rector said, "was circling, trying to get away from him."
The ages and names of the victims were not immediately released. A company spokeswoman said all the victims were employees of the store.
"Our first priority is the customers and associates," said Schnucks Markets Inc. spokeswoman Lori Willis. She said officials from the St. Louis-based company were on their way to the scene.
Higgins said police were pulling into the parking lot as Cope was putting the attacker down.
"We commend him," Higgins said. "But we don't encourage people to take that kind of risk. He could have been hurt."
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Statement From Schnucks Concerning the Incident at the Stonebridge Store
July 21, 20061
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Shortly before 10 a.m. this morning, there was an incident at our Stonebridge Store located at 9025 Highway 64 in Lakeland, Tenn. Local authorities confirm that eight associates were injured in an attack allegedly perpetrated by another associate who was on duty at the time.
Six associates, including the suspect, are being treated at the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center at The Med, and three others, with less serious injuries, were taken to St. Francis-Bartlett.
Our focus remains on our associates and their families during this difficult time. In an effort to provide immediate assistance and counseling, we have dispatched emergency personnel as well as company leaders from our Memphis and St. Louis offices. Store management team members and other associates who witnessed the event continue to cooperate fully with local authorities.
In the interest of protecting the privacy of our associates, we observe a firm policy not to discuss matters of employment. However, I can tell you that the suspect in this incident had not been terminated nor was he the subject of any disciplinary action.
At this time, we have no additional information to offer. We are waiting for updates from the medical centers and from local law enforcement officials investigating this incident.