WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) – Authorities found two handguns and ammunition inside the van of a trucker accused of opening fire on employees of a company he once worked for and then fleeing to Indiana. Two men were killed and three were wounded in the attack.

Police said the man, who once worked out of the company’s Atlanta office, did not appear to know the victims.

Tom West, 50, drove past security guards at the West Chester office Thursday morning without stopping at the company’s entry gate, strode into the office and opened fire – apparently without singling out any specific target, police Chief John Bruce said.

At least 12 shots were fired in the dispatch office of Watkins Motor Lines Inc., police said.

West was arrested a little over two hours later while eating at a truck stop in Indiana and charged with two counts of aggravated murder and three counts of attempted murder. He waived extradition, and police brought him and the van he was driving back to this Cincinnati suburb.

An overnight search of the van turned up two guns police believe were used in the attack, Bruce said Friday.

Tests will try to match shell casings found at the company with the .25-caliber and .40-caliber handguns and ammunition from the van, he said.

West said nothing as officers escorted him into the police station. He was being held without bond Friday in Hamilton. Judge Robert A. Hendrickson scheduled a hearing later in the day to determine West’s bond and appoint him a lawyer.

Authorities declined to discuss a motive.

“We believe that the suspect shot at anyone and everyone he saw,” Bruce said.

Watkins Motor Lines, based in Lakeland, Fla., issued a statement saying West had worked out of the company’s Atlanta office as a trucker from 1998 until he resigned in 2001. The company did not say why he left.

Donald Haury, 50, of Bellbrook, died at the scene; Bob Lines, 65, of Cincinnati, was pronounced dead later at a hospital, Bruce said.

Lines’ 44-year-old son, Randy, said his father worked at Watkins for 12 years. He said he wasn’t sure whether his father knew the gunman.

About 2½ hours after the attack, Indiana State Police arrested West along Interstate 74 near New Point, Ind., after receiving a tip that a man in a truck stop was saying police were looking for him, Lt. Marty McKinney said. West was eating a meal when officers arrived and responded “yes” when police asked if he should be handcuffed, authorities said.

West matched the descriptions given by witnesses, but he wasn’t armed, McKinney said.

Two of the injured men were hospitalized with chest wounds Friday, one in serious condition and the other in fair condition, said Bethesda Hospital North spokesman Joe Kelley.

Billy Claywell, 48, returned to his home in Cave City, Ky., after he was treated for a gunshot wound in the upper right side of his back.

“I feel pretty well, I guess,” he said from his home Thursday night. He said he didn’t know the gunman and must have been a random victim. “It was just one of those things.”

AP-ES-11-07-03 1259EST



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