The day after a gunman killed three co-workers and then himself at a facility in San Francisco, the victims’ relatives, fellow employees and customers were mourning their deaths in public and in private Thursday.
On Wednesday night, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office said the victims of the morning shooting in Potrero Hill were Benson Louie, 50; Wayne Chan, 56; and Michael Lefiti, 46, according to the Associated Press. Police identified the gunman as 38-year-old Jimmy Lam, who fatally shot himself in the head as police officers closed in.
Though it took hours for authorities to confirm who the victims were, word had already spread among their co-workers and family. By nightfall, a makeshift memorial in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood was growing for delivery driver Lefiti.
“Around here Mike isn’t just a UPS guy, he’s everyone’s friend,” UPS customer Barbara Branch told
People left balloons, photos and a poster calling Lefiti a “gentle giant.”
“He made you feel like you were a part of something,” Judy Prejean told the station. “He was just an awesome person. I just want his family to know how much he was loved outside the family.”
Lefiti, Louie and Chan were killed and two others were wounded just before 9 a.m. when Lam opened fire inside the shipping facility off 17th and Utah streets. Lam and his victims were in uniform and attending a daily meeting before making deliveries when the gunfire erupted, according to a company spokesman.
When police arrived, they believed that Lam was still inside and actively hunting co-workers. A special operations team went in after him and saw him turn his pistol on himself, police officials said. Two guns were recovered at the scene.
Authorities said the incident was not believed to be connected to terrorism. Police Chief William Scott told the Times that investigators were uncertain about Lam’s motive.
Police were still conducting “a very active investigation on what may have caused this as well as [the gunman’s] background,” Scott said.
Lam, a resident of San Francisco, had filed a grievance in March complaining about excessive overtime, Joseph Cilia, a official, told the Associated Press. The Teamsters local represents UPS workers in San Francisco.
Cilia said the gunman seemed to have targeted the three drivers who were fatally wounded.
“I never knew Jimmy to not get along with people,” Cilia said. “Jimmy wasn’t a big complainer.”
Police announced that the building was secured shortly after 10:30 a.m. Meanwhile, officers continued searching the premises for witnesses and additional victims.
“This was a frightful scene, and we just wanted to make sure someone wasn’t so terrified that they were hiding and we didn’t know they were inside the facility,” said Assistant Police Chief Toney Chaplin.
Steve Gaut, a UPS spokesman, said the facility processes packages for delivery in the San Francisco area. The facility employs about 350 people, but it’s unknown how many workers were in the facility at the time of the shooting, company officials said.
At an afternoon news conference, Mayor Ed Lee reassured UPS workers and the families of victims that they would be taken care of.
“They are happy and hardworking people,” Lee said. “We know them in every single neighborhood in the city.”
In days to come, city officials will review the incident to determine if any safety improvements can be made.
Rosemary Turner, president of UPS North California District, said counselors would be on hand to provide support.
“Please keep UPS-ers in your prayers,” she said.
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