In 60 to 90 seconds, police say three men were shot by their disgruntled co-worker inside the Ben E. Keith warehouse.
Police say the shooter was off Monday night when he showed up around 6:15, when his shift would start if he were working. They say he barricaded a door before opening fire.
“From all indications, it was fairly spontaneous, there was no advanced notice of any kind that we can uncover,” Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
A spontaneous attack by a disgruntled employee who may have been passed up for a promotion.
“Everybody said he was a nice guy, and they didn’t…I don’t think anybody foresaw this,” Geier said.
That’s how Albuquerque Police is describing Monday night’s shooting at the Ben E. Keith Foods warehouse, where 30-year-old Waid Melton shot and wounded three male co-workers, one of whom is still fighting for his life.
“Mr. Melton apparently had some issues with his employers,” Geier said. “There may have been some related mental health issues and that he also had…used some drugs.”
Police got the call around 6:15, the time the night-shift started at the sprawling warehouse. About 20 employees were inside.
Police say Melton, a forklift operator, confronted three of them, and one of them may have been his supervisor.
“We understand that he did use a forklift to block one of the exit doors,” Geier said.
Police believe Melton used a handgun for the attack.
“The shooting was over in probably less than 60 to 90 seconds,” the chief said.
Police say Melton took off in a black truck.
Officers got to the warehouse within minutes of the shooting, rushed in and dragged the wounded men outside, not knowing that Melton had already bolted.
“The officers did a heroic job, under extremely difficult circumstances,” Geier said.
APD pinged Melton’s phone to a remote area near Placitas. They say Melton killed himself while on the phone with crisis negotiators just before midnight.
Police only found the handgun he used to kill himself. They believe that was the only gun Melton had Monday night.
Victims’ conditions & company response
Police say this is the second shooting at a Ben E. Keith warehouse in recent months, and Tuesday the food and beverage distributor says it will be hiring security.
In August, an employee opened fire at a Houston area Ben E. Keith facility, killing a company manager and wounding another worker.
The family of the man who was killed filed a $25 million lawsuit. In it, the family claims the company knew the warehouse could be a target of workplace violence but didn’t provide adequate security.
APD said it does not believe private security guards were present during Monday night’s shooting.
UNM Hospital also gave an update on three men who were shot. Their names have not been released, but a doctor says they’re improving.
Dr. Stephen Lu says one of the victims was upgraded to stable condition and the others remain in critical.
UPDATE: @UNMHospitals continues to treat three patients from the shooting in SE ABQ. Two patients are critical, one is in stable condition. Please keep them in your thoughts. Thank you to our amazing doctors, nurses, & staff who save lives every day. #UNMHealth @ABQPOLICE— UNM HSC (@UNMHSC) November 14, 2018
Who is Waid Melton?
KRQE News 13 is learning more about the man who police say gunned down his fellow workers.
It turns out even his own neighbors didn’t know a lot about him.
The 200 block of Osage Place SW turned into a police magnet Tuesday.
“Everything was blocked off. Bomb squad was here…we didn’t know what was going on,” neighbor Steve Sandoval said.
As detectives searched Waid Melton’s home, APD’s bomb squad was on scene sending their robot to make sure the place wasn’t booby-trapped.
KRQE News 13’s cameras also caught detectives removing guns from the home.
According to county assessor documents, Melton has owned the home since 2012, but neighbors say they didn’t know much about him.
“We never really see the man out there. I guess he works graveyard,” Sandoval said.
It appears Melton doesn’t have a criminal history in New Mexico, and when asked APD’s chief says he was never on their radar.
“I think there was one traffic accident out of Rio Rancho, no criminal history, not anything that would indicate he would have been, or we could have prevented this,” Chief Mike Geier said.
While investigators look for clues, they are taking a look at Melton’s disturbing presence on social media.
On Facebook, he touts himself as a “killer” working for “natural born killers” and a “dealer” at the “illegal drug trade.”
He also says he worked at “Hells Army.” Under his experience, he says “killed alota people.”
Melton also has a Twitter account, where he often retweets articles about crime, mostly killings.