your connection to The Boston Globe

No motive offered in rampage at plant

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Elijah Brown's co-workers always had a hard time making sense of him. He paced, he talked to himself, he got bothered over teasing that wouldn't faze other people.

Questions about the 21-year-old meatpacking plant worker grew exponentially yesterday, after he used two handguns to shoot seven co-workers, killing five of them, before killing himself.

Police did not offer a motive for Friday's 10-minute rampage, but said there appeared to be nothing random about the killings at the Kansas City, Kan., ConAgra Foods Inc. plant. They said he passed by some co-workers, telling them, "You haven't done anything to me, so you can go."

"This person acted with purpose, he knew exactly what he was doing," Police Chief Ron Miller said.

Three of those killed were members of an extended family, and a relative said Brown had had an argument with one of them.

Lonnie Ellingburg, 46, was uncle by marriage to Travis Nelson, 23, both of Kansas City, Kan., and nephew to Ardell L. Edwards, 55, of Grandview, Mo., relatives said.

"We've got to get ready for a triple funeral -- my daddy, my uncle, my cousin," said Ellingburg's daughter Deya Barnett. "A triple funeral, we have to get ready for. It don't make no sense. We just need time."

Miller said Brown also shot and killed Leonardo Rodriguez, 49, of Kansas City, Kan.; and a 45-year-old Mexican national whose name was not released pending notification of his family. Four victims died at the plant, and Edwards died hours later at a hospital.

Wounded were Juan Ramirez, 44, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Victor Coggs, 60, of Harrisonville, Mo.

A spokesman at The University of Kansas Hospital said Coggs was treated and released Friday night, while police said Ramirez's injuries were not life-threatening.

Ellingburg's brother-in law, David Pledger, of Kansas City, Kan., said there had been a "tiff" between Travis Nelson and Brown. He speculated that the other two victims were "probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives