Fresno mass shooting investigation continues

November 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Fresno Police Department continues its investigation into the workplace shooting at Valley Protein which left three employees dead, including the gunman.

But the question about why the shooting happened remains unanswered.

Less than 24 hours after a horrific workplace shooting took the lives of three employees, Valley Protein reopened its doors.

"For the people going back today, it will be traumatic, thinking that they could have been killed," California School of Forensic Studies Dean Dr. Eric Hickey said.

Dr. Eric Hickey, Dean of the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant University, says many workers, especially those who saw the shooting will likely have strong emotions about their sense of security.

And they may be questioning how someone they worked with could have ever committed such a cold blooded crime.

"You probably have a man who felt he had nothing to lose, probably felt he was getting no where in life. He didn't want to go back to prison again and he was probably just angry and he didn't care anymore. Somebody upset him about something," Hickey said.

Lawrence had an extensive criminal history and served time in prison for robbery. A jail psychologist diagnosed Lawrence with "intermittent explosive disorder."

Fresno police say on the day of the mass murder, Jones got to work on time and spent three hours laboring before he went up to each of his victims and shot them. Dr. Hickey says this indicates the act was premeditated.

"It gave him time to think it over again and when he did, he decided for whatever reason, it could have been an absolute silly reasons, now is the time to do it, and once you shoot the first bullet its over, he's going to keep shooting," Hickey said.

Leaving emotional and physical wounds for years to come.

"It will quiet down after a little bit, but the trauma for those people will last for years," Hickey said.

Fresno's workplace shooting is inflicting long-term effects on hundreds.

Every single investigator at the Fresno Police Department has worked the case, and yet many pieces of the puzzle are still missing.

Chief among those missing pieces is the motive for 42-year-old Lawrence Jones.

Police say he shot four co-workers at Valley Protein -- killing two of them -- then walked out and killed himself.

Several workers showed up at the business Wednesday despite the violence a day earlier, but managers shut down the plant for the day.

Meanwhile, police are wrapping up their investigation by interviewing a few stragglers who ran away during the shooting, as well as the suspect's family.

In a matter of minutes, hundreds of lives took a turn for the worse, all because of a man with a history of violence and mental problems.

Lawrence Jones terrorized his co-workers at Valley Protein and would've soon met up with police who were quick to respond.

The first call to 911 came in at around 8:20 a.m.

Police say it took 16 seconds for the call taker to process the call and ten more seconds to dispatch the first officer.

Two minutes and 19 seconds after that 911 call came in, surveillance video taken from across the street caught Jones' last act of violence.

About 45 seconds later, Delia Garcia saw the flashing lights of the first officer on the scene.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says that three minute and five second response time is critical in this scenario, when co-workers and others could still be at risk.

"In this instance, when they're considered to be an active shooter and there may be more than one shooter, the officer has to move very, very quickly to disable or disarm that threat," Dyer said.

Officers quickly received a report that Jones had killed himself, leaving behind his gun and the work boots he'd worn for several months.

He'd been released from prison last year and as Action News reported Tuesday, Jones was diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder after committing his fourth felony strike offense in 2002.

But his employers said he was a model worker until Tuesday.

And although police say he carefully chose who to shoot, his targets seemed to be new employees.

"Why would his specific target be somebody who barely started working?" Action News asked Chief Dyer.

"That's the $1 million question is if those individuals had only worked there a short amount of time, what prompted this type of behavior from the suspect?" Dyer responded. "And that's what we're still trying to piece together as a department. And we may never know."

Chief Dyer talked to jones' sister Wednesday and although he didn't want to reveal the content of their conversation, investigators tell me those closest to Jones say they're not surprised by his violent outburst.

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